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Christchurch’s McDougall Gallery Bill before Parliament

21 February 2003

Parliament has begun considering the Christchurch City Council’s Robert McDougall Gallery Land Vesting Bill.

The Bill was introduced on Wednesday (19 Feb). It will be considered by the Local Government and Environment Committee which will decide on a closing date for submissions.

Central city MP Tim Barnett will see the Bill through its stages. “I’m aware there’s some urgency attached to the Bill,” he says. “Given that local consultation has already happened, I’m sure that most issues have been resolved.

Mr Barnett says 2003 is an exciting year for the city. “This is a great year for local culture, with the new gallery set to open and the museum alterations due to start and getting over this legal hurdle will also help move things along.”

The Local Bill – formally called the Christchurch City Council (Robert McDougall Gallery) Land Vesting Bill – is needed because the 1925 Act of Parliament that set up the old Robert McDougall Art Gallery must be replaced to allow the building to be put to other uses.

The building, west of the museum in the Botanical Gardens, ended its run as the city’s main art gallery in June last year. The City Council’s new gallery is set to open in May.

After considering submissions last year, the City Council decided to lease the old gallery building to the Canterbury Museum to be used as a “gallery principally for the display of art and decorative arts and crafts”. The local Bill will allow those changes to be made.

The building will become known as the Robert McDougall Gallery. Through the City Council’s public consultation, about 200 submissions were received about the gallery’s future use, with just under 150 supporting it being allied to the museum.

For a copy of Mr Barnett’s speech to Parliament moving the Bill’s first reading, call Bryn Somerville on 03 941 8949

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