Friday, March 01, 2013

The Len Lye Centre gets another final go ahead

Things are certainly changing. Thanks to the New Plymouth District Council’s commitment to live streaming, it was possible to follow last night’s meeting on the Len Lye Centre. Essentially a sum of $750,000 was required in excess of other funds raised because the tenders came in higher than expected. The Council had to decide whether to stump up for the extra or not.
Not picking up the extra cost would delay or stop the project altogether. Most submissions started with a statement of support for the Centre but cost was the main point of contention. Questions were asked about the difficulty of raising funds in the current climate and it was suggested that the LLC efforts were putting other community fundraising projects at risk. There was a break of sorts when John Matthews showed pics of giant Len Lyes (Blades, Serpents etc) currently in production. Kinsley Sampson, the Chair of the Len Lye Trust, told Council that he felt they could raise any further sums required once people saw the building had started. The Council then debated the motion.
The Mayor spoke to the vote calling the project “a $10 million gift to the city” and something that will define New Plymouth for the future. He also felt there would be considerable support for further fundraising (Helen Clark and Chris Finlayson have both put up their hands). The seconder was very supportive and figured it was "too late to back out now." There followed a strange amendment about trying to raise funds by selling donated art works to raise the missing $750,000 (poor old bloody artists). But it passed by one vote. Then more talk for and against. And the vote to fund or not to fund? It was 9 votes to 6 to go ahead. As one councillor said “Art’s not my thing, Len Lye is not my thing but the community is my thing so I’ll be voting yes.”
Images: The Len Lye Centre meeting being live streamed