Councillor's criticism thought too early

A Waitaki district councillor was premature with his criticism of proposals to upgrade three Oamaru cultural facilities, deputy mayor Jim Hopkins said on Friday.

In Friday's Otago Daily Times, Cr Peter Garvan described the $13 million to $15 million cost to redevelop the Forrester Gallery, public library and North Otago Museum-Archives as "a Ferrari when a Toyota will do".

Cr Garvan believed that in the current recession no more than $5 million should be spent, and a council special subcommittee set up to investigate options should restrict itself to that.

Cr Hopkins is chairman of that community building subcommittee and said it had only started its work.

Cr Garvan had been asked to be on the subcommittee - made up of Crs Hopkins, Sally Hope, Hugh Perkins and Helen Stead, with one representative each from the Friends of Forrester Gallery, Friends of the Library and museum advisory committee - but had declined.

The subcommittee held its first workshop on August 19.

It had made no decisions, and has only the power to make recommendations to council which all councillors would then vote on. Cr Hopkins pointed out the redevelopment proposals were included in the 2010-19 long-term community plan, subject to external funding other than rates. The plan had to be reviewed next year.

- david.bruce@odt.co.nz

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