Increased museum levy accepted

The Hurunui District Council has agreed to increase its contribution to the operation of the Canterbury Museum.

Hurunui has been paying $50,608 towards the operating costs of the museum, which it is now proposed be increased to $53,842 in the 2011-12 year, which amounts to a seven percent increase from last year.

Hurunui Mayor, Winton Dalley, says the council accepts the museum plays an important role in retaining the region’s heritage, and Hurunui is part of that.

“We are part of Canterbury and are only here because of those early settlers whose stories are recorded at the museum. It’s important those memories and links be retained and maintained for the benefit of everyone in the region, including our residents.”

But he adds, the Council is not happy at the quantum of the on-going increases.

Hurunui will be echoing the concerns of its neighbour, the Waimakariri District Council, in its submission to the Museum’s Draft Annual Plan about rising costs, including the proposed $66M building redevelopment.

Hurunui’s contribution to the project will come on top of its annual operational grant, and is signalled to be $183,469 beginning in the 2012-13 financial year.

“That’s a significant capital grant for a smaller authority to bear.”

The Council was concerned about the total cost of the project before the February 22, earthquake, but he says the rebuild has put even more uncertainty into the mix.

Both councils have pushed for an overhaul of the Canterbury Museum Trust Board Act in the past, and are now repeating the call.

“We want the legislation reviewed before any extra money is committed to the museum’s redevelopment project. Central government should really be contributing to the operational cost of the Museum, just as they do for Te Papa.”

Under the Act, the Waimakariri, Selwyn and Hurunui district councils, along with the Christchurch City Council are required to contribute through their rates to fund the Canterbury Museum.

Two or more of the contributing authorities need to object to force a review of the proposed levies.

 For further information contact:

Winton Dalley

Mayor

Hurunui District Council

P: 03 3140011