Ask Me Why (Mayor’s Latest Column 17 March 2018)

6 years ago | by

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Why are we doing this?

It’s no secret that I am passionate about what a new library, gallery and civic space will mean for the future of our city.

This project is part of a bigger picture for our area.  We are a growing Regional City and we need to plan for the future.

Around 40% of our community are library members, so clearly libraries are important to us. Our library has no dedicated space for our HSC students to study and is only 40% of the size recommended by the State Library of NSW. Allowing our community access to new technology, new ways of learning, and new ways of working is essential – these are the things that will grow our City.

Creative industries are a key driver of economic success. The Bendigo Art Gallery for instance generated $20 million dollars in 2016 from the visitor economy, similarly MAMA (Murray Arts Museum Albury) opened in 2016 and surpassed $9.66m in its first year of operation. We can achieve similar success here.

Why have we included the Council?

Council staff are part of our community – they are your friends, neighbours and family, they volunteer at your child’s soccer club, they are part of the SES and the Rural Fire Service. Co-locating these facilities will make Council staff more accessible to the community and we will be able to deliver services more efficiently.

The concept designs do not include a new council chamber, but do propose a multipurpose space that can be used by the whole community for events, talks, celebrations and Council Meetings.

Where we are in the process?

We are now at the conversation and feasibility study stage and fully expect to re-evaluate once the business case is developed and presented to Council for consideration.

We want to hear what you like and don’t like about the 3 concept designs and if you feel the project will help us achieve our vision for the future of our City.

Getting the design right is important as we want to create a vibrant and welcoming community hub that says “come on in”.

How will we make a decision?

There will be a number of pauses during the project so that we can evaluate the cost versus benefits as well as available budgets and funding arrangements.  The proposal to combine our facilities allows us to look at selling existing assets such as Rigby House and our Customer Service Centre to help pay for the proposed new building. When we receive the full information and business case we will evaluate and assess our options.

It is an exciting project – come with me on this journey and have your say.

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