After frustrating delays, council’s finally allowing the former Queenstown Arts Centre building to move from downtown Stanley Street to Frankton’s Country Lane.
‘‘We had an email on Friday saying the council has given us the nod again to proceed after they put it on hold again,’’ operations manager Annika Grant says.
Originally part of Queenstown’s first high school, the wooden building’s thought to date back about 100 years.
Until May last year, when council terminated its lease, Queenstown Art Society operated an arts centre there for 20-plus years.
Councillors then voted to remove it from its strategic assets register so it could be moved — or demolished.
Submitters heavily favoured its retention, after which Country Lane’s owners successfully tendered for it to become a visual hub at its retail precinct, opposite the Events Centre.
In April, Mountain Scene reported growing frustrations at council delays in green-lighting the proposed move.
On the move: The former Queenstown Arts Centre building
Subsequently, Country Lane was presented with a sales and purchase agreement, which still hasn’t been signed.
Council then pushed pause after a councillor apparently expressed concern if the building left Stanley St, it would have to be replaced by
another community facility — opening the door for the Project Manawa civic centre, which the councillor allegedly opposes.
Grant, however, says they’ve now been assured the council’s fully backing its relocation.
They’re next waiting to get the go-ahead to go under the building to check its dimensions so they can design foundations for its new home.
All going well, she’s hopeful the building will be transported along Frankton Road — in two sections — in about two months’ time.
Grant says part of the building will be rented out to visual arts-related businesses.
These in turn will subsidise the use of the rest of it for a community arts centre with gallery and workshop spaces.
She’s inviting anyone keen to rent space to visit their website, countrylane.nz, and specifically its ‘Joining the Lane’ tab.