Public’s views sought on plan for arts in Wanaka

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Social and economic benefits could flow from an increased focus on arts and culture in Wanaka, the draft cultural masterplan commissioned by the Three Lakes Cultural Trust has found.

Trust deputy chairwoman Hetty Van Hale said there was not enough arts and culture here, and there was no co-ordinated approach to it had not been part of the Queenstown Lakes District Council’s long term plan for the district.

“They have got other plans for sports and sporting facilities, but arts and culture have just not been able to find a place at the council table.”

That had changed: the trust’s draft plan had more than 20 recommendations to create a long-term strategy.

At a community meeting in Wanaka on March 18, locals could tell the trust whether it had “got this right” and identify gaps in the draft plan.

Wanaka needed affordable spaces for artists to work, create, rehearse, practise or teach, as it was a “hand-to-mouth” existence for many artists, she said.

Anther challenge was finding a venue big enough for a variety of events.

“We’ve outgrown the Lake Wanaka Centre.”

A capacity of about 350 meant often events had to be scheduled over several shows, increasing the level of expense and co-ordination.

Many events could easily fill a venue twice the size, Mrs Van Hale said.

A more cohesive approach to providing information for locals and tourists was another idea from the research.

“One of the things we would like to do is build an arts portal for the district that tells you absolutely everything that is going on.”

A long-term plan could provide economic benefits as well, and creative industries could develop in Wanaka.

“I think there is general support and understanding now of the importance of arts and culture planning at a district-wide level for the council.”

Spokesman Jack Barlow said the council signalled a partnership with Ngai Tahu Property in October 2018 to redevelop the Stanley St site for the new council building and a range of assets.

“The intent is for this to include an arts and cultural facility, such as a performing arts centre.”

This was referenced in the annual plan documentation and was something the council would engage with the community on later in the year, he said.

Three Lakes Cultural Trust cultural masterplan community voice meeting, Lake Wanaka Centre, March 18, 6pm-8pm.

Please register via email to Jo Brown: admin@threelakesculturaltrust.co.nz

SIMON.HENDERSON

@thenews.co.nz