‘Blue sky thinking’ about river bank well received

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Ideas to capitalise on the Mataura River running through Gore, such as developing walking tracks and seated areas and hosting temporary sculpture exhibitions, were enthusiastically received at a summit in Gore.

The summit was held at the Heartland Hotel Croydon on Wednesday and attracted about 100 people.

Gore District Council arts and heritage curator Jim Geddes told those gathered about the ideas that had been developed as an off-shoot to the planned arts precinct upgrade.

Architect Tom Rowe, of Auckland, was staying in Gore while developing ideas for the precinct, when he came up with a visual design showing what could be done to enhance the stretch of river bank, Mr Geddes said.

Mr Rowe observed Gore was situated differently from a lot of other towns with rivers running through them. Other towns he worked with built towards the river to capitalise on views and opportunities, but in a lot of cases Gore put the backs of buildings towards the river.

There were no concrete plans but there were possibilities for the future, Mr Geddes said.

“It’s just blue sky thinking.”

There could be a lot more exploration of the idea if it was decided to run with it, he said.

“There’s lots of options.”

Mr Geddes also outlined other major plans on the drawing board relating to arts and heritage.

Another idea discussed was a redeveloped history museum for Gore, as well as a development plan for the Croydon Aviation Heritage Centre, he said.

The district had made a considerable investment in arts and heritage.

“Our arts infrastructure has an asset base of approximately $9 million – $6 million in collections and associated plant, $3 million in building stock, [and] $7.2 million, or 80%, of that investment has come from outside of Southland,” he said.

Aesthetic appeal . . .This artist’s portrayal of what could be done to make the Mataura River bank in Gore attractive was a hit at a summit held in Gore. GRAPHIC: SUPPLIED

“While it sounds a lot, we are under-capitalised for the quality and significance of our collections and associated stories.

“To that end, we maintain a constant cycle of getting a facility to an adequate, sustainable, operational level – then we start planning its redevelopment.”

The district’s heritage infrastructure had an asset base of about $4.4 million – $1.2 million in collections and $3.3 million in building stock, he said.

About $700,000, or 16%, of that investment came from outside Southland, he said.Mayor pledges action: Page 3