Stor­age cost­ing thou­sands a month

The Hastings Mail - - FRONT PAGE - MARTY SHARPE

It has been four years since Napier’s new mu­seum was found to be much too small and there is still no per­ma­nent home on the hori­zon for the re­gion’s col­lec­tion of arte­facts worth tens of mil­lions of dol­lars.

Napier ratepay­ers will con­tinue foot­ing a bill of $12,500 a month to store the col­lec­tion at a tem­po­rary site for the fore­see­able fu­ture.

The $18 mil­lion MTG HB build­ing, opened in Septem­ber 2013, was built to house the $44m col­lec­tion of about 100,000 ob­jects owned by the Hawke’s Bay Mu­se­ums Trust.

The build­ing, owned by Napier City Coun­cil, re­placed an old build­ing on the same site. When it was fin­ished, it was found ca­pa­ble of hold­ing just 40 per cent of the col­lec­tion be­cause air con­di­tion­ing ducts and other pipes were tak­ing up more room than ex­pected in its base­ment stor­age area.

The rest of the col­lec­tion has been stored in the old Roth­mans build­ing in Ahuriri, at a cost to Napier ratepay­ers of about $12,500 a month.

This week coun­cil’s di­rec­tor of com­mu­nity ser­vices An­toinette Camp­bell said, ‘‘fur­ther op­tions have been ex­plored, in­clud­ing mul­ti­ple sites in Onekawa and one in Whakatu.’’ How­ever, noth­ing had been con­firmed as suit­able.

‘‘It is tak­ing time be­cause coun­cil doesn’t have many op­tions at this stage that are af­ford­able and able to be achieved within avail­able bud­gets,’’ Camp­bell said.

She would not say if one of the sites was the coun­cil de­pot, which chief ex­ec­u­tive Wayne Jack had mooted as a pos­si­bil­ity.

Camp­bell said the col­lec­tion could stay in the Roth­mans build­ing as long as re­quired, and the build­ings own­ers had no plans in­volv­ing the space they oc­cupy.

Last Oc­to­ber the coun­cil said it was 6-9 months from mak­ing a de­ci­sion on where the col­lec­tion would be housed.

Fol­low­ing the dis­cov­ery last month that the coun­cil’s main build­ing was earth­quake-prone and un­likely to be strength­ened, it now made sense to ‘‘in­ves­ti­gate MTG’s stor­age along­side the wider coun­cil and li­brary archive stor­age op­tions,’’ Camp­bell said.

One op­tion was mov­ing coun­cil staff into the city li­brary and build­ing a new li­brary else­where, pos­si­bly near Clive Square. The coun­cil had ear­lier been con­sider- ing mov­ing the archive, which ac­counts for about 12.5 per cent of the col­lec­tion, into the city li­brary.

‘‘Coun­cil is presently in­ves­ti­gat­ing op­tions for a new li­brary and it can­not be ruled out that the MTG ar­chives will not be co-lo­cated with the li­brary ar­chives in a new fa­cil­ity,’’ Camp­bell said.

It cost $178,000 to store the col­lec­tion in 2015/16 and $176,000 in 2016/17. The coun­cil had bud­geted $151,000 for an­other year’s lease and there was $496,000 al­lo­cated for off-site stor­age.

Once a site is found it will take about 18 months to com­plete any work on the site and re­lo­cate the col­lec­tion.

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