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Holding on to hope: Lakes District Museum director David Clarke's still got funding options in play

By HUGH COLLINS

Arrowtown’s Lakes District Museum won’t be getting a dollar from the government’s ‘shovel-ready’ fund.

But, its fight for survival is far from over.

Museum director David Clarke says the staff heard last Thursday the application to central government for money for its required $3.5 million project for seismic strengthening of the historic building hadn’t been successful.

Clarke believes it’s because the project was too small for the initiative.

“They were really looking for projects in the $10 million to $20m range or more.”

Well before the Covid-19 lockdown the museum’s former Bank of New Zealand building, built in 1865, was marked as earthquake-prone, requiring strengthening by 2025.

A failure to meet the deadline will likely result in the museum’s closure.

However, while the shovel-ready fund is now out of the question, the museum’s still waiting to hear the outcome of an application to Queenstown Lakes District Council’s annual plan – that would cover a third of the funding.

Submissions to the council are being heard, online, today in Queenstown.

“I always know there’s money for sportsfields and things like that, so there needs to be a contribution to cultural facilities as well, you can’t just ignore them and let them die,” Clarke says.

The museum’s also now looking into applying to the government’s provincial growth fund.

The pot of money equates to $70m, which has been earmarked for upgrades to maraes, town halls and other cultural facilities.

Clarke:  “We’re going to investigate if there’s an option here … we think the museum would be an ideal project for some of that funding.

“[Cabinet Minister] Shane Jones specifically said it’s for projects ready to go and we’re basically ready to go subject to building consent.”

Clarke says another benefit of the museum project is it’ll help generate jobs in the post-Covid-19 world.

Arrowtown’s craft market

Queenstown’s first post-lockdown craft market’s planned for this Sunday.

The ‘#supportlocal’ indoor market and book sale’s being held at Arrowtown’s Lakes
District Museum — director David Clarke says about 15 stalls will be set up to
showcase work from local creatives, and hopefully raise some money for the museum’s earthquake-strengthening project.

Clarke says it’s also about creating a bit of a vibe in central Arrowtown.

‘‘There’s plenty happening all round the district so we’re just doing our bit as well,’’ Clarke says.

‘‘Come into Arrowtown, wander the main street and support local.’’

The market will run from 10am till 2pm and there’ll be a 20 per cent discount on all books in the museum’s shop.

hugh.collins@scene.co.nz