I wrote about the progress on the ‘Cultural and Civic Space – For the Heart of the City’ in my last column, but I hope you’ll forgive me for coming back to it again.
My excuse is that I am so passionate about what a new library, gallery and civic space will mean for the cultural and overall lifestyle of the city that I must spread the message.
In June 2016 and then in May this year we, as a Council, endorsed the project to develop the old Salvation Army building in Gordon Street into a new Library and Gallery, with the addition of Council Chamber, office accommodation and Customer Service Centre. This followed a thorough investigation of 11 possible locations within the City Centre Masterplan area.
There were a number of reasons why we concentrated on the CBD. First is that all the current best practice in urban planning says that having a cultural precinct in the heart of a city centre is vital. They bring life, vibrancy, cultural and economic benefits to areas that can otherwise be quite dead outside business hours – and it brings the cultural community into the heart of the city too.
Another reason was that a cultural facility to draw people into the CBD is a vital part of the City Centre Masterplan and is crucial in achieving that Plan’s goal of activating the city centre as a community and visitor destination.
In addition, having a facility – that incorporates a modern library and gallery, a youth area and digital media studio, exhibition space, workshops and makers studios, public art, parking, a café, small events space and technology resources – means people of all ages and backgrounds have a reason to visit. It will also incorporate best practice access and facilities for people with limited mobility and older people.
A city centre location is important because it offers convenience – you can shop, use services, eat, exercise and enjoy a cultural experience – all in one visit.
It’s about being inclusive and welcoming to all members of the community and region.
And that’s a view shared by many, many people in the community. We know this because it was the message from the community and our Advisory Committees following the extensive consultation we undertook on these facilities.
As with so many aspects of life, we can achieve great things by working together. If we pull in different directions, we might miss out on wonderful opportunities. Can you see the opportunity? I can.
I’d urge you to take a look at what is planned for the new ‘Cultural and Civic Space – For the Heart of the City’ by going to http://haveyoursay.coffsharbour.nsw.gov.au/cultural-and-civic-space and find out more.