Those behind the unique Hundertwasser Art Centre being built in Whangārei have welcomed extra Government money but say costs will not keep rising.
An extra $4.5 million of funding from the Provincial Growth Fund will ensure the $30m art centre and Wairau Māori Art Gallery has enough money to be finished.
Construction started in September 2018 when the cost was expected to be $26m, which was a jump from the original $16.25m estimate. But additional costs included asbestos removal from the old building, deeper pilings being needed and extra seismic strengthening.
Once again another government project that has doubled in costs. That means that even if there was a positive BCR for it, it almost certainly isn’t positive now.
Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones said the art centre was expected to bring more than 250,000 visitors to Whangārei each year, with an economic benefit of $26 million a year for Northland.
I can guarantee you it will not. Whangarei is not going to have an extra 5,000 tourists a week, just because of one arts centre. Especially while the road from Auckland is only two lanes some of the way. It’s a five hour return journey from Auckland.
They are basically projecting a near doubling of tourism to Whangarei, all because of this arts centre. It’s beyond wishful thinking to delusional.
Also even the local Whangarei tourism portal has more subdued numbers. They say 140,000 extra visitors with a net economic benefit of $3.5 million. I’ll take bets from anyone that Whangarei visitor numbers will not be 50,000 higher than in 2019, within two years of the arts centre being complete.
Also open to bets that the cost will exceed $30 million!