The amalgamation of the Forrester Gallery, North Otago Museum and Waitaki District Archive, known as the Cultural Facility Development Project, continues to make progress with external funding applications underway.

External funding is critical to the success of the project – a condition imposed by Council during the 2015-25 Long Term Plan.  Community Services Group Manager Thunes Cloete said Council had agreed to fund one third of the total project cost, while the remaining funds would come from external sources.

“It is a requirement of the external funders that we (Council and community fundraising efforts combined) must fund one third of the total cost of the project”, says Dr Cloete.

“As the project has progressed we have had extensive discussions with our stakeholders, including councillors.  We have more detailed information on how the new facility will look, how it will cater for different needs and uses.  This has led to a better understanding of the total costs with the capital budget increasing to $6 million, up from $4.5 million.”

“Consequently, our contribution has increased to $1.9 million, up from $1.5 million that was agreed to two years ago.  The extra funds needed will come from existing depreciation funds.”

Cr Hugh Perkins, chairman of the project committee, is adamant this will not increase rates beyond what is already anticipated.

“We do not want to ask ratepayers to contribute more than they have already committed towards this project.  The ability for us to use funds that are already available without increasing rates is an important aspect of the funding of this community project.”

Should the external funding be successful, Council will make a decision in July as to whether the project receives the ‘green light’.

“The bottom line remains that external funding is essential before Council makes the final decision for the project to proceed.”

Community fundraising is also underway to support the project with the first event, the Forrester Laneway Long Lunch being held on Saturday 1 April (organised by Sally Ann Donnelly (Fat Sally’s Bar and Restaurant) and Bevan Smith (Riverstone Kitchen).

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