Proposed Museum redevelopment considered

A series of recommendations for the proposed redevelopment of the Whakatāne Museum and Research Centre will be considered by the Whakatāne District Council on 6 November. If adopted, the project will then be included in the 2015-25 draft Long Term Plan (LTP), which will be available for community consultation in March next year.

That follows the adoption of a report on the Museum proposal by the Council’s Projects and Services Committee on 23 October. The Committee has recommended that a financial contribution up to $1.5 million be included in the draft 2015-25 LTP, with the balance of the $4.5 million project cost being raised externally. Other key recommendations included:

  • That in principle, the Council include a staged improvement in service delivery from 2016/17 onwards in the draft LTP
  • That applications be made for subsidy and grant funding totalling just over $3 million
  • That the Council approve a redevelopment proposal which would see the Museum building retained and retrofitted, with an extension built into Burgess Park

The existing Boon Street complex currently falls short of legislative requirements and national sector standards for the long-term preservation of the Museum’s collection, particularly with regard to climate and humidity control. The collection holds more than 600,000 photographs and 100,000 artefacts and objects, with an assessed value of some $13 million, and is considered to have significant regional and national importance.

Councillor John Pullar, one of two Council representatives on the Museum Board, says the project funding proposal would see one-third of the cost sought from central government and one-third from other funding agencies and the community. The Council contribution would be contingent on the full external funding requirement being realised.

“We have begun conversations with possible funding agencies and are looking forward to engaging with the community and key stakeholders to gauge support for the project,” Mr Pullar says. “There’s no doubt that investment is required if we are to preserve the our heritage treasures for future generations. This proposal would not only allow the existing collection to be safeguarded, but cater for the future needs of the Whakatāne District.”

The proposed redevelopment received a resource consent in August 2014.