City councillors are expected to make their call today on which of the museum options will be included in the Long Term Plan; a combined museum/library in the central city, a stand-alone museum at Cliff road, or none at all.
To assist them, councillors will have the results of the non-binding referendum plus reports on how the council’s decision making process over the last two trimesters has got them to this point.
The museum deliberations are expected to begin at 1pm at a public meeting in the council chambers.
Today’s deliberations have to deal with the facts that a museum anywhere will be a decision going against the results of both the non-binding referendum - and the weight of submissions in the public Long Term Plan hearings.
The staff count-up has 23.7 per cent or 412 of the submissions supporting the stand alone museum on cliff road. The combined museum has the support of 358 or 20.6 per cent of submitters.
Option three, not supporting a museum, is the submission made by 970 ratepayers and groups, or 55.7 per cent of the submissions.
Reasons given by 970 submitters opposing a museum are:
• There are other funding priorities 62, per cent.
• Cost / debt / rate is an issue 25 per cent.
• A museum is not needed now or in the future 22 per cent.
“The results are considered broadly consistent with the referendum results of 58.95 per cent against and 41.05 per cent in support, and Key Research figures of 41 per cent of ratepayers willing to pay for a museum,” says the report by Project Lead Investment Planning Cultural Facilities, Carole Canler and Heart of the city programme director, Adele Hadfield.
The recommendation to councillors is that a stand-alone museum be included in the LTP 2018-28. The rationale is:
• While not a majority, a significant proportion of the population supports the development of a museum in Tauranga. The feedback received from a range of community engagement processes is consistent. The LTP results do not alter the rationale for including the proposal in the LTP 2018-28.
• A museum would support the community’s desire to “tell our stories” and build our sense of identity.
• The museum capital and operational costs are a small proportion of the total expenditure of Council.
• Capping expenditure towards the museum is a way of balancing cost issues against support for a museum.
• A stand-alone museum has a benefit-cost ratio above 1, meaning that the economic benefits of developing a museum exceeds the costs.
Staff also recommend the site selection should be co-led by Tangata Whenua leadership and Council which means Cliff road.
Tangata Whenua leadership was advised prior to the LTP Deliberations meeting. The Kaumatua and Tangata Whenua group met on May 24 and reiterated, that the Cliff Road site was the only culturally appropriate site for Tauranga’s proposed museum development.
The council options are for Cliff Road to invest $20.7m in a stand-alone museum comprised of a capped capital contribution of $15m towards a museum and $5.7m4 towards access improvements to Cliff Road with the expectation to raise an additional $35m externally to reach a total development cost of $55.7m.
The average annual net operational expenditure for this is $4.9m per annum; the museum would be operational in 2025/26.
Option 2 is to invest $44.6m in a combined museum and central library comprised of a capped capital contribution of $39.6m towards a combined museum and central library and $5m towards recognition of the cultural significance of Cliff Road with the expectation to raise an additional $37.7m externally to reach a total development cost of $82.3m.
The average annual net operational expenditure for this is $6.2m per annum; the facility would be operational in 2023/24.
Option 3 is no investment in a museum at this time.