IN June 2020, respected Bathurst architect Henry Bialowas' vision for the historic TAFE college was featured in the Western Advocate.
He explained in great detail how the building could be redeveloped into a performing arts centre to house our excellent Mitchell Conservatorium (MitCon) to allow for its future growth.
Henry quoted the Conservation Management Plan he prepared in 2002 for the NSW Government which showed a clear case for MitCon as a future user.
He stated that "as an architect, I well understand ... a progressive restoration and gradual implementation makes it possible".
He went on to explain that restoration and occupation by MitCon could be done in relatively easy stages at nominal cost, noting that "it may, over time, cost millions", but the sooner work starts, the less costly it will be in the long term.
He dismissed the fear of many regarding the provision of disabled access, which he said could certainly be achieved, noting that "much of the ground floor is already accessible" and "one judiciously placed lift could serve many levels and access the first floor and its 300-seat performance space".
Murray Nicholls, editor of the Western Advocate, in his editorial in the same paper, noted that Henry Bialowas was a respected Bathurst architect who had designed Bathurst's Bicentennial Flagstaff, and therefore should be acknowledged as someone whose opinions were worthy of serious consideration.
Henry Bialowas' vision was also supported in subsequent editions of the Western Advocate by such local identities as Pauline Barker, on behalf of Bathurst Town Square Group, and by Sandy Bathgate, president of Bathurst Heritage Matters, among others.
Why are we not taking seriously the views of such a prominent and respected local architect who has spent "more than 20 years ... in bringing the Bathurst Town Square to light", including "10 years with the Town Square Group" and has been "instrumental" in elevating its recognition to the heritage and cultural benefit of the city?
In an election year, as councillor/s call for Another Report, will this only have the effect of "pushing the problem down the road"; or is it an attempt to secure the legacy of finally finding an answer to the question of what to do with the historic TAFE building?