The underlying reason for the closure of the museum: the Invercargill City Council is in financial difficulties because of its commitment to finance 50 per cent of the inner-city upgrade.
According to the annual report of June 30, 2017, the end of last financial year, Invercargill City Property Ltd had spent $11,178,000 on investment property, which means the inner-city upgrade.
That money was borrowed. There are many reasons to believe that by June 30 this year that sum will have more than doubled.
A major proportion of the money will have to be recuperated from rates. The council will say that it will come from the shop owners.
Regardless of when, and if, the money comes back at all, it is going to lag by a considerable time. My own prediction is that it will never come back. Max Skerrett Invercargill Invercargill City Council chief executive Clare Hadley replied:
Your correspondent’s assertion that the museum’s closure was caused by the inner-city upgrade is, with respect, erroneous. The reason for the closure of the museum was public safety and the safety of ICC staff who work in the museum buildings.
The legislative framework that applies now is different to that faced by the SMAG board when it received the original Opus report in 2013. Both Health and Safety and Building Act legislation and responsibilities have changed and tightened since then.
The council is now considering the most appropriate options to ensure staff are safe while undertaking museum work. There will be limited staff access to the building, but this will only be after a health and safety plan has been put in place. Their main place of work will be off-site, which we are working to secure. As their employer, the first step is consulting with the staff.
Congratulations to all involved in Friday’s ILT Southland Entertainment Awards. As a first time audience member I was blown away by the professional standard and passion displayed by all involved. The entire show was first class. It was a slick and highly entertaining evening, a real showcase of the talent we have in the South.
Special congratulations to everyone involved. Especially Jo Ward and her team and of course Mr Lachie Hayes, Southland entertainer of the year, who was probably born playing an instrument! The future of music is safe in the south if this is an indication of the future. I will be there next year for sure, and I may I suggest that you are too. Jo, can I please book my tickets now? Lisa Tou- McNaughton Arts Advocator Arts Murihiku
Ian Robertson (April 16) made mention of the efforts of Hamish Walker and Mark Paterson in helping resolve the Ouvea premix issue and was critical of the Gore District Council.
Hamish and Mark were indeed supportive but I think it is important to acknowledge Cherie Chapman, the 2017 Labour candidate for Clutha-Southland, for her tireless advocacy on this issue. Cherie organised a number of public meetings, raised the awareness of this issue nationally and supported the great work of the Mataura Action Against Dross group.
It is easy to be critical of local government for their inaction, but both the Gore District Council and Environment Southland needed the financial support and greater decision-making capacity of the government to find a solution. Under the previous government environmental issues and public health concerns had a lower priority, this is not the case now. Environment Minister David Parker’s support was an essential element to a resolution and we should acknowledge the work of the Gore District Council chief executive, Steve Parry, who brokered the final solution.
In the end there was a good deal of cross-party goodwill to resolve the dross crisis for the people of Mataura. Toxic waste is something we all need to take some responsibility for as it is our community’s historic tolerance for dumping, burying and hiding toxic materials without thinking of the long-term consequences that is problematic. As ratepayers and voters we give local and central government the mandate to act on environmental issues and I think we all have responsibility to make this clear if we think it is important from now on. Dave Kennedy Invercargill