Ordinary meeting of the
Community Services Committee
Thursday 24 September 2015
Commencing at 9.00am
110 Trafalgar Street, Nelson
I am Mary Gavin, Chair of Broadgreen Society. My written report is on page 10 of your meeting papers
To recap - The Broadgreen Society represents a group of volunteers whose key commitment is to the preservation of Broadgreen Historic House and its contents and to facilitating the enjoyment of the House by all interested people.
We have been doing this for 50 years.
Broadgreen Historic House is recognised locally, nationally and internationally and features in many publications. As recently as last Monday a glowing 5 star review was posted on Trip Advisor by visitors from Tasmania praising the uniqueness of the House and also the services of the guide.
We were disappointed that no member of this Community Services Committee, except the Mayor, accepted the invitation to attend the Society AGM last Friday.
We know that you are busy -
and so are we.
Guides are rostered 7 days a week and provide nearly 3,000 voluntary hours every year, not counting all the extra events and out of hours visits we also support. For example, last Friday we honoured Janette Dimery for 45 years of continuous service as a guide and farewelled Denis Le Cren after 20 continuous years of enormous practical and far ranging work as a committee member.
Referring to my written report – page 10 of your papers
In relation to point A, we were very pleased to have a resolution to the question of winter opening and have now received formal written reassurance that support from NCC staff during winter hours will be available if required – this is an important factor in our Health and Safety plan.
In relation to Point B, I want to remind you that the changes that are to be made under the 4th section of the staff Recommendation – page 11 on your Agenda - are changes to current legally agreed documents so the process must be handled very thoughtfully.
We have received an explanation from NCC staff re the time lines which impact on the ability to consider the Lease negotiations four years prior to the expiry of the Lease.
Nevertheless, the Heritage Activity Management Plan, which is the basis for these restructuring proposals covers 2015-2025, and there are other Agenda items you are considering today which involve financial commitments to events as far away as 2025. I see you are also discussing Lease arrangements in another context today. So we do consider it is valid for awareness of the Broadgreen Centre Lease to be noted concurrently with the other financial arrangements negotiations. In particular Clause E of the lease agreement is relevant.
Additional to my written report, I would like to comment on the 3rd section of Recommendation [Item 11 on Agenda and p 94 of your meeting papers] which is:
AND THAT commencing 1 November 2015 all revenue from house entrance fees and souvenir sales now be retained by Council and is used to fund heritage promotions, exhibitions and other activities;
We have some reservations about this and in particular the practicality of this time line, 1 November 2015. The previous curator left in December last year, but it now seems unlikely that a replacement staff member will have been appointed by 1 November or that the financial responsibility renegotiations will have been concluded.
Our concerns are around continuity of the work done by the Society for the last 20 years e.g. the promotion and publicity for Broadgreen House, collaboration on exhibitions and programmes, providing for guides’ welfare, expenses etc. Section 5.5 on page 97 refers to increased visitor numbers due to the promotional work of summer tertiary students – these students were recruited, trained, supervised and funded entirely by the Broadgreen Society. We are planning another project this summer.
I suggest that the timeline in this Recommendation is amended.
Initially Broadgreen Society welcomed the opportunities that the restructuring offered but in reality it has been a stressful, uncertain, very time consuming and at times quite an unpleasant experience – which is not what we volunteer for.
We look forward to exciting developments for Broadgreen Historic House and to more positive commitment to whole tourism heritage sector in Nelson.
Report R 4770 Comments from Gail Collingwood
Speaking for National Council of Women Nelson Branch
Former NCC rep to the Broadgreen Society – approx 12 years
Following Cllr Jo Raine
Cllr Elma Turner
Cllr Betsy Eyre
5 Councillors 1996 – 2015 = 50 years – (These four women were NCW members)
NCW wrote to council in July expressing concern about the proposed winter closing.
The branch, in particular delegates who are also Broadgreen Historic house guides were delighted to hear of the NCC compromise decision allowing the volunteers to get back to guiding and reopen this highly graded historic house.
This is an extremely special house, regarded as a very fine example of this type of construction and graded as such by Heritage NZ. Council should hold the house and contents, in high regard and have a real sense of pride in the ownership of such an important Victorian property.
The responsibility to protect this treasure and deliver against the Heritage NZ obligations to preserve and protect a Category 1 building sits with NCC.
Committed, reliable volunteer guides regard it as a privilege to work at Broadgreen Historic House to have the doors open 363 days each year. Some have delivered their responsibilities as guides with passion and energy for decades.
NCW ask you to value the special contribution these volunteers are making to support the city of Nelson.
The branch also supports the proposal to return to full opening hours Oct - May. It is positive to read in 5.5 that during the employment of student’s last summer visitor numbers increased. This outcome is applauded. It is hoped that this example will follow through with the new staff appointment and the collaborative heritage promotion and marketing proposed.
I draw your attention to this brochure produced some time ago – council was not ready at that time to contribute to printing costs – this is a fine example of collaboration, local and right across the top of the south.
The last paragraph of the resolution in the report proposes that a new financial agreement be “negotiated” with the society – however the prior paragraph indicates financial changes commence on 1 November.
These two paragraphs seem to be in conflict with each other and when the attachment is read it would seem the financial change proposed to start on 1 November is pre emptive of discussions and the proposed negotiations – it is suggested that the paragraph in regard to the retention of fees might be removed as surely it would form part of the new financial agreement yet to be discussed and negotiated?
Since information was in the media in regard to comparative income and expenditure across the three heritage houses, questions have been raised about the management of the houses. 5.3 & 5.4 provides some information that lacks background detail, all three houses have different agreements and deliver differently it is impossible to compare them at the current time.
Although media reports indicate that Melrose House will look for funding assistance from council for toilet upgrades and has done so in the past - surely NCC staff time was allocated for the earthquake strengthening and ground maintenance?
Is the full story able to be told about the works of Cllr Jo Raine, Chairperson John Phillips and long time volunteer committee member Denis Le Cren who raised all the money for the Broadgreen Centre to ensure paid staff had warm dry office space to work in and for the collection to be stored in a controlled temperature room.
In appreciation NCC agreed to pay for electricity, insurance, phone, and water costs to ensure that paid staff are able to work in acceptable health and safety conditions with power and phone connections.
Staff previously worked in the small china pantry and the house bathroom both south and east facing, fabrics were stored under beds in non approved conservation conditions.
Other costs for the administration/ancillary building such as carpet cleaning, painting, provision of shelving etc are covered by the Society. These facts are overlooked.
5.15 of the report indicates that the new staff appointment is to work across all four facilities, proposed to be 26 hours per week, Divided by four and allowing travel time 22 km – outcome approx 6 hours per week per facility. Sick days and leave not included.
If an exhibition is to be held requiring for example 5 working days (volunteers assisting) would this mean it would be another month before paid staff might be back at Broadgreen Historic house?
To conclude – as a personal comment all the documents refer simply to Broadgreen or Broadgreen House, over time the society has inserted the word Historic as a point of difference from Broadgreen Intermediate School which is referred to in Stoke as Broadgreen.
Might I suggest that consideration is given to including the word Historic in the title for this house and for that matter for the other two houses also? e.g Broadgreen Historic House?
I believe this enhances the status of the buildings and enhances their importance and prominence for Nelson City.
Please value and embrace our heritage it cannot be replaced as Christchurch has found and there are few NCC owned buildings with the exception of Civic house that might ever make heritage status.