Anderson House feedback wanted

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    The upstairs hallway in Anderson House. Photo: Supplied

    PUBLIC feedback is being sought for the third time on the possible use for Anderson House.

    Invercargill City Council parks manager Robin Pagan said the council had approved option four “in concept” at a council meeting this month, but had requested further investigation be undertaken.

    “[Anderson House] is an important icon for Invercargill, so it is important we get the right outcome,” he said.

    Option four involves utilising Anderson House as a multi-use venue incorporating a tea room, function and performance spaces and permanent historic displays.

    “[Option four] would give plenty of options and doesn’t lock us into one thing,” Mr Pagan said.

    The development would require a capital investment of about $2.2 million (including $800,000 for earthquake strengthening, $600,000 for fire safety, accessibility, elevator and delayed repairs and maintenance).

    Anderson House has been closed to the public since January 2015 after it was deemed an earthquake risk. The council indicated it wanted to determine the best future use for the building before bringing it up to code.

    “It has taken a while, but it’s quite costly, quite a major undertaking,” Mr Pagan said.

    Council staff were now refining the proposal and the potential costs involved, to be included in the council’s long-term plan which would go out for public consultation in September, he said.

    Two prior surveys had already been undertaken. The last round of public consultation conducted late last year attracted 219 responses, of which 71% supported the inclusion of a cafe/wine and dessert bar, 60% supported the inclusion of historic displays, 58% favoured a gift/book shop and 55% supported a downstairs function room.

    Mr Pagan said if option four was approved, a staged approach would be taken. The first stage would involve earthquake-strengthening work, including removing the chimneys and replacing them with replicas and tying the first floor and the roof to the walls.

    The council was still to decide how the operation of the building would be managed under option four, he said.

    “There has to be one management… either in-house or outsourced for the whole complex for it to run efficiently.”

    Splash Palace aquatic centre’s cafe, Liquid Cafe, and the Southland Museum & Art Gallery’s cafe, Pyramid on Gala Cafe, are council-run.

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