BATHURST Heritage Matters would like to congratulate Henry Bialowas for his advocacy concerning the former TAFE building, and for his suggestion that it become the new home of the Mitchell Conservatorium of Music (Grand Vision For TAFE, Weekend Advocate, June 6).
This is a very positive suggestion, one which ticks all the boxes. It will provide a community-based solution to the longrunning saga of what to do with it, thus ending a sad period of hand-wringing and lack of meaningful progress.
Using a staged approach, what is needed is a schedule of works required to bring the building up to Code, which could be funded by state and federal governments, and CSU too, given their interest in music and culture, and in being part of the centre of town.
Operating costs can be managed by the conservatorium so that the building is not a financial burden to ratepayers. Planning needs to be "shovel ready" so that, as soon as the capital funds are secured, work can commence on stage one.
We have to get past the notion that this site has to make a profit for council - sporting facilities don't, museums don't, parks don't, even Mount Panorama doesn't.
The existing building can be easily configured to provide flexible use spaces which also can be leased out for exhibitions, festivals and cultural events, under a head lease to the conservatorium.
Spaces should be available for public access, and the interiors must be open as a visitor attraction.
Bathurst Heritage Matters wholeheartedly urges council to get in behind this excellent idea, and to make it happen as a priority.