- Date 9:48 AM Wednesday 1 July 2020
- Type COVID-19
Mayor John Leggett has warmly welcomed today’s announcement of $11m in infrastructure funding for the new Marlborough District Library and Art Gallery planned for Blenheim’s CBD.
“This is a shot in the arm for Marlborough’s construction industry and a vote of confidence in a long-planned Council redevelopment project.”
“The build alone will support and create many local jobs during its construction phase, which will take up to two years starting this September. There will be many indirect employment, business and servicing benefits as well.”
“The new facility will revitalise downtown Blenheim. As well as being a fantastic new library and stunning new art gallery, it will also become the town’s community meeting place and hub and further enhance the Quays riverside precinct.”
“The current library in Blenheim already has 17,900 visitors a month and that will only increase with this new, multifunctional venue.”
“I’d like to thank Finance Minister Grant Robertson who took the time to meet with myself and Council Chief Executive Mark Wheeler on his recent visit to Marlborough. We were able to outline to him a number of ‘shovel-ready projects’ in Marlborough, and the library/art gallery was one of those.”
The Mayor noted the new library and service centre in Waitohi/Picton has transformed users’ experience there, attracting 24 per cent more visitors since it opened in 2017, and has delivered a multi-use venue for many diverse community activities.
“We know the Covid-19 emergency will have a serious impact on our tourism, retail, hospitality and construction sectors. This project will help support new, local jobs here and provide a destination for visitors to Blenheim, drawing them into our town centre.”
“The Millennium Public Art Gallery want to upgrade their facilities to meet national and international exhibition and collection management requirements, and also enhance Marlborough’s growing reputation as an arts destination.”
“The new building will address the old art gallery’s inadequate storage and exhibition space and limited education facilities.”
The project’s construction is currently out to tender and closes on 15 July. The construction budget is just under $20m. Government funding is contingent on conditions being met including budgetary constraints.
The COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund announcement was made by Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones this morning. The ministers established the Infrastructure Reference Group (IRG) earlier this year to work with local councils and businesses to identify a pipeline of projects to support the economy during the COVID-19 rebuild.
The fund set aside $3b to fund infrastructure projects across the country. This is in addition to the Government’s $12b New Zealand Upgrade Programme and Provincial Growth Fund infrastructure investments.