27 Oct 2009

Closing submissions on Christchurch conservatorium

8:15 pm on 27 October 2009

Closing submissions have been heard on the Christchurch City Council's proposal to fund a new conservatory of music.

The council is proposing to borrow $24.3 million to build the conservatorium at the historic Arts Centre and lease it back to the University of Canterbury.

The university says the council could fund the development more cheaply because of its superior credit rating and the proposal would also create tax benefits for the council.

Supporters of the conservatorium, including the Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce, say the new building will help revitalise the South Island city.

Councillors were also told though the music school needs new facilities, this has not been budgeted for in the university's capital works programme.

Senior music lecturer Jonathan LeCocq says the School of Music has struggled for many years to recruit students because of the poor state of its facilities.

Mr LeCocq says any further delay in getting a new building would be appalling.

The council will discuss the funding proposal at a meeting in November.