Council considers recommendation to put the Mahara Gallery upgrade on hold
Council yesterday considered a proposal to put the planned upgrade of Waikanae’s Mahara Gallery on hold to give the Mahara Gallery Trustees time to come up with the funds to enable it to proceed.
The future of the joint project to upgrade the Mahara Gallery and Waikanae Library was discussed during a workshop on the draft Long Term Plan (LTP) for the District, which sets future funding priorities for public consideration.
Group Manager Community Services, Tamsin Evans, presented a report on the current status of the project which put estimated costs at $4,338,000 for the Gallery and $2,892,000 for the Library. The total cost of $7,230,000 includes a higher-than-usual contingency fee of 25%, which would be reduced when there was more certainty around real project costs.
Ms Evans said the joint project had stalled because the Mahara Gallery Trust was having difficulties securing funding.
“The Gallery Trustees have reported that major funding sources such as the Lotteries Commission and community grant schemes, as well as individual philanthropic donors, have said there would be no funding forthcoming unless Council commits to providing a third of the costs of the Gallery upgrade.”
Ms Evans said the Trust had approached the Council asking if it would consider the one third contribution which would amount to almost one and a half million dollars. The Waikanae Community Board had already agreed to put $250,000 towards the Gallery project and Chairman, Michael Scott, told the meeting the Board was happy for this to be considered as part of the Council’s Contribution. The balance of the Council’s one third contribution would be $1,196,000.
Council considered a number of options for funding the project. These ranged from agreeing to the Trustees’ request to put up one third of the gallery-upgrade costs, to abandoning the joint project and reinstating the Waikanae Library upgrade as a stand-alone project in 2015/16.
Mayor Jenny Rowan said Council’s support for the joint project has always been contingent on the trustees raising the funds for the gallery upgrade.
“We are hopeful our on-going commitment to the project will give the Trust leverage to secure funds from the funding agencies and philanthropic donors. At the end of the day this is a decision for our community. Let’s take it to them and see what feedback we get.”
After lengthy discussion Council decided to include a proposal in the LTP to contribute the one third sought by the Trustees but to defer the project until 2015/16 to give the Trust time to secure the funding. In addition to the cost of the library upgrade, Council would contribute $1,196,000 (plus CPI) and $250,000 would come from the Waikanae Community Board. Further design work on the joint gallery/library project would be suspended for the time being until the Trust raises the remaining two thirds of the funds estimated for the Gallery upgrade.
The Council’s recommended option to defer the project to give the Trustees time to raise the required funds will be included in the draft Long Term Plan that will be released for public consultation in mid-April.
The Mahara Gallery is housed in a Council owned building in Mahara Place, Waikanae. The Mahara Gallery Trust is seeking to provide a permanent home for the Field Collection in Waikanae. To achieve this, the Mahara Gallery needs additional space for exhibition, storage, workshops, administration etc and needs to upgrade those spaces to museum standard to house the collection and to be able to attract and show significant touring exhibitions and collections from other galleries.
Separately, the Council had planned for the refurbishment and upgrade of the Waikanae Library. With the Gallery adjoining the Waikanae Library, the opportunity arose for a joint project and the Council has previously agreed to support the project by advancing funding for the upgrade of the Waikanae Library.
Alongside this, the Council and the Mahara Gallery Trustees have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work together with the objective of the Mahara Gallery becoming the District Gallery for Kāpiti.
The project has progressed on the basis that the Council would contribute by funding the upgrade to the Waikanae Library and paying for the design work but that the funding for the Gallery upgrade would be directly raised by the Gallery itself. The Gallery Trustees launched a fundraising campaign in September 2011 to raise the money for the upgrade.