MORE than half of the current councillors were just ordinary citizens when expressions of interest (EOI) for the former TAFE site were launched, but they're in support of the process and keen to see the results.
Bathurst Regional Council launched an EOI process in September 2021 in an effort to generate ideas for the redevelopment of the William Street site.
It called for suitable parties to put forward "financially sustainable proposals".
Council has already received some proposals for the site, however it is remaining tight-lipped on the number of proposals and just what they entail.
New councillors say they look forward to seeing what ideas the EOIs reveal.
However, they also have a few things in mind themselves that they would like to see incorporated into proposals.
Deputy mayor Ben Fry would like to see education and the arts be part of the site's future.
"I personally believe we'll be guided by the will of private investors, the private sector. I believe the private sector will need to come to the party and that's why that expressions of interest process was initiated," he said.
"I think if we can keep it in line generally with the arts or education or something that mixes between those two realms, I think it would be a good outcome for the old TAFE building given its history.
"That blend of arts and education would be ideal, however I'm really keen to see the submissions after the EOI process has concluded."
Cr Marg Hogan sees merit in incorporating the arts into the old TAFE site's future.
"I'd love to see an area where young people have got somewhere to go after school for instance, and if there is a possibility that some of that area could be used for rehearsal space, so you have music, dancing, voices happening, I think that would be a lovely thing to have in the city centre," she said.
Both she and Cr Fry want to see work happen on the old TAFE site as soon as possible, so the main building and surrounding infrastructure can finally be put to use.
"It needs to be revitalised," Cr Hogan said.
When the EOI was launched, council laid out a timeline for decision making.
The EOI closes on February 15. Council will approve a shortlist and ask the preferred proponents to prepare and submit detailed design proposals in mid 2023.
A final design would be selected later that year, and construction could commence as soon as 2024.
Cr Fry said that, in the meantime, council should draw more attention to the historic TAFE building.
"We should light it up or make a bit of a night time display out of it ... to show the architectural history behind it and make it a key heritage tourism asset in the time being," he said.
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