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Council gets go ahead to lease Robert McDougall

Council gets go ahead to lease Robert McDougall building

The lease of the Robert McDougall building to the Canterbury Museum can now proceed after the Christchurch City Council was recently granted Parliamentary approval to lease the building as a public gallery.

An original 1925 Act of Parliament meant the Council could only use the McDougall building for an art gallery. Last year, the Council drafted a local bill for Parliamentary approval to be able to lease the building as a public gallery for the display of art and decorative arts and crafts. The draft bill was circulated to interested individuals and groups for consideration mid 2002, following a public submission process on possible future uses. A formal notification period took place in December 2002 and the bill was sent to Parliament in January this year.

The Canterbury Museum will use the building, now known as the Robert McDougall Gallery, as an extension to the museum complex to display art and decorative arts and craft collections currently in storage because of lack of space.

City Council property manager Rob Dally says the decision to lease the building to the Canterbury Museum was made following consultation with the community in 2002.

“The Council resolved to seek the views of the public by calling for submissions on alternative compatible uses, as well as on the museum proposal. Future uses were also discussed with the direct descendants of Robert McDougall. The family confirmed a desire for wide community use of the building to continue,” says Mr Dally.
“Discussions also took place informally with a number of interested heritage groups, and representatives of Friends of the Botanic Gardens.”

Compatible uses refer to the special character of the building. The purpose built art gallery is a Group One listed heritage building in the City Plan and is registered as a Category One Historic Place by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust Pouhere Taonga.

Mr Dally says the Council is looking forward to finalising the lease and in working with the museum to breathe new life into the Robert McDougall Gallery.


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