Refurbishment of Council Chambers: Under budget & now open for view - 14/11/2005The refurbishment of the Council Chambers has come in under budget, and Mayor Michael Laws is inviting Wanganui citizens to visit the Chambers and see the handiwork for themselves.
"The budget approved unanimously by the council in its 2005/06 Annual Plan was $100,000, but the cost has come in at $74,424. That's not only a considerable saving but the chamber has now been transformed from a drab and soulless meeting room into an outstanding civic forum and reception area. It is not only available for council use but for other groups with a civic focus," said Mr Laws.
Some of the savings have been spent on upgrading existing council chairs and purchasing 80 new chairs for public seating for council meetings and functions.
The figures have been collated for the next meeting of the council's finance and administration committee.
Changes made include:
- establishing a photographic record of all the town, city and district mayors stretching from 1862 to the present;
- introducing Wanganui-themed art works from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries;
- commissioning a set of magnificent rimu tables for formal council meetings;
- removing the stage and introducing a moveable podium;
- upgrading the room's timber veneers, fixtures and fittings;
- laying new carpet;
- establishing an 'honours board';
- establishing a formal flag display.
Mr Laws said that there were still two projects to complete - a carved Maori entranceway into the chambers "to recognise the invitation our local iwi gave to settlers to share this region" – and stained glass surrounds that will tell the story of Wanganui. Both will be privately funded.
Mayor Michael Laws invited the Wanganui public to "come and inspect the Council Chamber for themselves".
"It is a room that belongs to all of us, and not just the few. I will be holding my next Mayoral Town Hall meeting in the Council Chambers at the end of this month, so that will also give people a chance to also appreciate the room.
"At last we have a Council Chambers that belongs to all of Wanganui, that celebrates our heritage and of which we can all be proud."