National Automobile Museum of Tasmania land 'not given away’

FUTURE: National Automobile Museum Of Tasmania chairman Harry Williscroft and manager Phil Costello look at the Lindsay Street site the museum will move into. Picture: Scott Gelston.

FUTURE: National Automobile Museum Of Tasmania chairman Harry Williscroft and manager Phil Costello look at the Lindsay Street site the museum will move into. Picture: Scott Gelston.

As financial details of the National Automobile Museum of Tasmania’s relocation are decided, the City of Launceston is insisting it is not ‘giving away’ the land.

The museum will relocate from its location on the corner of Willis and Cimitiere streets to make way for the University of Tasmania’s $260-million campus relocation.

Museum board member Harry Williscroft and his colleagues jumped at the offer of a parcel of land near the Silo Hotel at North Bank.

UTAS’ Northern Expansion project director James McKee said the university had been working with the museum for about two years.

He said the financial details of the move were now being discussed between the university, City of Launceston and the museum.

“It's been a process of trying to find the right outcome and it has been a true, three-way conversation,” he said. 

“When you've got three parties involved, all with different needs and aspirations that takes a bit of time.”

City of Launceston acting general manager Michael Tidey expected the council to formally consider the matter in the coming weeks. 

“The discussions do not involve the council giving away the land in question,” he said.

“The representatives of the NAMT are clearly very excited by the proposal, which would allow them to further build upon their important tourism offering in a dedicated, purpose-built facility, and allow the university to potentially expand the footprint of its proposed new northern campus.”

Six options were tabled as potential future locations for the museum.

“We looked everywhere, right out to even Meander Valley about what other options might exist,” he said.

Mr Williscroft said the relocation of the museum would allow it to expand and provide disability access.

“To be able to open up the entire display to everyone in our community is something we are particularly pleased about – we looked at a range of possibilities but the site at North Bank is by far the right option for us for a number of reasons,” he said.

Relocation is expected to begin within months to ensure the museum is operational by late 2018.

Mr Williscroft said it was almost certain that the museum would lose money in the two years after the move.

He said the university had also agreed to help with moving costs.

Mr McKee said until UTAS had finalised the masterplan, it could not be clear on what its needs for the site were.

“The real key was to get the right outcome for all parties – importantly that we didn't lose the value of the museum to the community and to the tourism sector,” he said.

Mr McKee hoped the plan would be finalised soon.

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