16/01/2008 - 22:00

A-Shed plan for museum

16/01/2008 - 22:00

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The Fremantle business community has sought to rescue Peter Briggs’ motor museum from closure, putting forward an alternative plan to move it to a building used by the nearby Western Australian Maritime Museum.

A-Shed plan for museum

The Fremantle business community has sought to rescue Peter Briggs’ motor museum from closure, putting forward an alternative plan to move it to a building used by the nearby Western Australian Maritime Museum.

Currently housed in the B-Shed building at the southern end of Victoria Quay, the Fremantle Motor Museum has been told by Fremantle Ports that its lease will not be renewed when it ends on March 30 because of plans to use the heritage building as a ferry terminal.

The Fremantle Chamber of Commerce believes the nearby A-Shed provides an answer that would improve the amenity of the area.

The A-Shed is closer to the maritime museum, which currently uses it for storage and administration.

FCC said it understood the port’s priority on maritime commerce when it was considering the future of the B-Shed, but believed the A-Shed offered a good solution by bringing two museums in closer proximity – inviting better patronage of both facilities.

FCC CEO John Longley said the A-Shed was meant to be used as public exhibition space under a master plan for the port.

“In the end that [storage] is not an appropriate use of that building,” Mr Longley told WA Business News.

He said the advantage in the special nomination of the A-Shed as a public exhibition space meant a museum housed there would not be competing with commercial interests such as micro-breweries, which could pay much more for what is now valuable space.

But the FCC’s plan has run into a major hurdle, with the state government saying it has other plans for the A-Shed, which it wants to renovate as an extension to the display area of the maritime museum.

“While the WA Museum recognises that Mr Briggs is required to relocate his private motor vehicle collection, the AShed is not seen as an appropriate option,” the state government responded in a statement.

“A-Shed is leased to the museum from Fremantle Ports, and long-term plans are under way to renovate the building to display the boats now held in storage there.

“This will allow public access to some of the state’s significant and historic vessels.

“The A-Shed collection relates directly to those of the Maritime Museum and is a compatible use of the space.” Mr Briggs is an avid car collector and claims to have invested $2.5 million in developing the existing museum on the understanding that a longer-term lease would be available.

The motor museum contains 60 cars, 55 of which belong to Mr Briggs.

He also houses a significant part of his 130-vehicle collection in another museum he started, in York.

There is speculation Mr Briggs would sell some of the collection – which is considered significant – if he can’t resolve the situation by the end of March.

FMM CEO Graeme Cocks said he supported the concept of moving to the A-Shed, creating a tighter museum cluster.

He said the commercial attractiveness of Fremantle was pushing out the things that made the port town different.

Fremantle Ports has announced Rottnest Express owner Baileys Marine Group was selected as the preferred proponent to build a common user ferry terminal with a cafe and other tourism related tenancies at the B-Shed.

The proposal includes the restoration, upgrading and reuse of this historic waterfront building.

Baileys operates an existing terminal at C-Shed, which handles 200,000 people annually for ferry journeys to Rottnest and whale watching.

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