As the deadline looms for expressions of interest [EOI] into the former TAFE building in William Street, the architect behind one of the high profile submissions hopes a fresh council will see merit in a proposal that could revolutionise cultural offerings in Bathurst.
With the last election resulting in five new councillors elected, and that the current council will likely select a final design brief for the building in 2023, Mr Bialowas hopes the new council will take the PACE submission under serious consideration alongside other EOI's.
"Because council have opened up EOI's to commercial developers, my particular concern is the cultural needs of the city will be side-lined in favour of chasing the almighty dollar," he said.
"The overwhelming feedback from the community regarding this project is that Bathurst is in need for more cultural facilities, and the PACE proposal will not only preserve an important educational asset, but renew it and repurpose it as a facility with the potential to turn Bathurst into a world-class cultural region."
The PACE proposal also includes plans for a 12-unit residential development next to the TAFE complex, which the PACE group believe could make millions of dollars for council to help with the costs for the proposed centre.
Mr Bialowas said this is a golden opportunity for council to take the lead and commit to a project that could "determine the future of Bathurst for generations and generations to come."
"If we blow it, every neighbouring region will take precedence over Bathurst when it comes to generating interest from premier cultural consortiums," he said.
"Orange is spending $20-odd million on their conservatorium, Tamworth is spending $128 million on a performing arts centre and even humble Forbes is spending $7.2 million to transform their former ambulance station into a cultural and arts centre, what is Bathurst doing?
"To ensure we can fill up our local venues that host live entertainment, we need a cultural centre that not only complements Bathurst's burgeoning creative sector, but brings people to town; we can't keep losing creative and innovative individuals to other towns and cities."
The closure date for EOI's is February 15, with council to then come up with a shortlist of proponents and make a request for more detailed design proposals.
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