House to become Mayoral Manor?

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NEW York has the Trump Towers, Washington DC has the White House and soon Invercargill could have its own Mayoral Manor – if Invercargill resident Bryan Campbell gets his way.

Mr Campbell has suggested Anderson House should become the home of the city’s resident mayor. He submitted his suggestion in response to the Invercargill City Council’s (ICC) preliminary survey seeking ideas on possible future uses for the historic building.

Bryan Campbell
Bryan Campbell

The mayor and his/her family would live in the house, but the general public would still have access to the grounds, Mr Campbell said.

“It is not about giving [the mayor] a glorious place to live… it’s about the guests and people he entertains. It would be a wonderful way to host them.”

Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt said he was open to the idea.

“I am open to any idea that will work and help to promote the city.”

The suggestion would add a lot of interest and humour to the discussion about the future use of the house, he said, but he doubted a “nuclear family” of today would be able to run a house of that kind.

Anderson House has been closed to the public since January 2014 after it was deemed to be an earthquake risk.

The council indicated earlier this year it would bring the building up to code once a decision was made about what it would be used for following the departure of the Invercargill Public Art Gallery, formerly Anderson Park Art Gallery, from the site.

Venture Southland tourism and events manager Warrick Low said the consultation process, which closed last week, attracted 251 suggestions, ranging from a wedding venue, arts hub and non-profit office space to a boutique hotel, spa retreat and war memorial museum complete with trenches in the lawn.

The most popular suggestions were for the house to be used as a function venue and the inclusion of a cafe or restaurant, he said.

Overall there was strong public support for the retention and maintenance of Anderson House and a desire for the house to be accessible to the public, he said.

Further public input would be sought next month once the most promising options had been assessed based on a series of criteria, including the public good and fiscal sustainability, Mr Low said.

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