After years of debate and indecision, it looks like Tauranga may finally get a museum.

A council committee yesterday voted 7-1 to move ahead with a plan that would see a museum built at Cliff Rd. The recommendation will go before the full council for approval.

Those who believe Tauranga needs to shake off its small-town roots and become a vibrant city will welcome the decision.

Others, who see the plan as an extravagance, will argue it places an unfair financial burden on ratepayers.


Cost has always been at the centre of this debate.

This point was highlighted by a survey which found the majority of respondents wanted a museum — they just didn't want to pay for it.

Building a museum is not going to be cheap and, as a ratepayer, I share concerns about the potential impact on rate bills.

However, this needs to be balanced against what we want for our city in the future.

Tauranga is now the fifth largest centre in the country, and there is a strong argument the provision of public facilities has not kept pace with rapid population growth.

Artefacts that tell the tale of our city are currently stored in a warehouse. As has been noted before, they remain out of view of the curious minds of the next generation, and the tourists and cruise ship passengers that descend on our city over the summer months.

They should be on display.

The councillors who voted to move ahead with the project will most likely bear the brunt of this criticism over cost.

Ultimately, though, their legacies as elected officials will be judged on whether the city is better or worse off as a result of their decisions.

In my view, the decision to value, preserve and take pride in our history will, in the fullness of time, be recognised as a good thing.