Museum, art gallery decision delayed

Southland Museum has been closed since April 2018 after a report pointed to 15 points of critical...
Southland Museum has been closed since April 2018 after a report pointed to 15 points of critical structural weakness. PHOTO: ODT FILES
It will be months before the Invercargill City Council has a new report or any decision about the future of the Southland Museum and Art Gallery.

Nobby Clark
Nobby Clark
The building was closed to the public in April 2018, because of earthquake safety concerns, and since then reports and discussion about its future have taken place throughout the region.

During the first full council meeting yesterday, councillors approved a recommendation to review all the relevant strategic planning reports about a future museum before any further engineering assessment.

The decision came after Cr Nobby Clark presented a motion requesting that council commission a structural engineering and quantity surveyor’s report to identify the cost of strengthening the existing museum structure.

Mr Clark said council would need to consult the public and should have all the information possible.

He got support from councillor Nigel Skelt who said the situation was ‘‘staggering’’.

‘‘Can we step up and have a process going forward? ... We certainly need a plan - no disrespect with another council or councillors — but this council is having a very exciting phase, we cannot ... [have no] progress.’’

Cr Darren Ludlow said the museum trust board commissioned a report outlining the options for a Southland museum rebuild.

Cr Lesley Soper believed council should sort out its strategy first before spending more money on another report.

The recommendation to review all documentation was carried with six votes in favour.

A report about the Rugby Park also was presented.

Last year, Rugby Southland and Rugby Southland Supporters staff had to move out of the stadium offices due to issues with the structure and a toxic mould.

An engineer’s report put more than 1500 seats in the main stand out of use because of worries about spectator safety.

After a visit on the site this week, chief executive Clare Hadley was advised there was a considerable amount of work to be done before council let people back into the area.

Cr Peter Kett said the damage was caused by council staff cleaning the area with ‘‘high-powered water blasters ... that is the fact of the matter’’.

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