15 Sep 2005

Solomon Islands Government says art gallery and hotel will bring jobs and tourists

8:11 pm on 15 September 2005

The Solomon Islands Government says its sale of the property housing the National Art Gallery will create jobs and tourism.

In a controversial move, earlier this year, the land was sold to a developer who, the government says, will build a five star hotel on the site.

But the Government retained part of the land and says a new, bigger, gallery will be built on the site, and it will include a performing arts theatre, seating two thousand.

The Department of Culture and Tourism says it has accepted a design for the proposed gallery and theatre and this will soon go to Cabinet.

The Prime Minister's chief of staff, Sir George Lepping, who negotiated the hotel deal, says it will mean hundreds of jobs for Solomon Islanders, while the project will also bring in tourists.