Same same but different:Civic project in Barilaro’s patch
A PROJECT with a number of similarities to the Cultural and Civic Space has been approved in Queanbeyan.
It will house the Queanbeyan-Palerang Council head office, a new library, and conference meeting rooms.
Unlike the Coffs Harbour project, it has the support of its State Member, NSW Nationals leader John Barilaro.
It is in the electorate of Monaro in the State's south near the ACT.
Early in the planning phase, an agreement was made that two floors of the new building would be leased by the State Government.
Community and engagement officer Michael Goise was unable to confirm which State Government department would be setting up shop when the Queanbeyan Civic and Cultural Precinct (QCCP) is built.
He says there should be shovels in the ground by February next year.
Mr Goise says there's been strong support for the project and believes their program of community consultation from a very early stage was crucial to that.
"I've spent a lot of time at shopping centres and other places explaining the project in detail and answering questions."
Coffs Harbour City Council has been criticised for its communication in regard to the Cultural and Civic Space.
There are also options in the Queanbeyan precinct for other commercial tenants to take up space to help offset costs.
Like the business model for the Coffs Harbour Cultural and Civic Space, council properties in the Queanbeyan-Palerang Council area will be sold to help fund their new building estimated to cost $74m.
Mayor Denise Knight has congratulated the Mayor of Queanbeyan-Palerang Council Cr Tim Overall on the project.
"It's great they had their State Member on board supporting this amazing project. He obviously sees the benefit of the arts and also the inclusion of council offices," Cr Knight said.
The QCCP will be constructed on the site of the former Council administration building. Mayor Overall says it will act as the catalyst for further redevelopment in the Queanbeyan CBD.
Coffs Harbour Lawyer Heather McKinnon has been a strong supporter of the Coffs Cultural and Civic Space and has addressed Council at several fiery meetings on the topic.
She has been disappointed at the lack of support for the project from Coffs Harbour MP Gurmesh Singh, who has continued to speak against it, even after the approval of the recent development application.
"I have pleaded with all tiers of government to work together on this project in Coffs," Ms McKinnon said.
"The size of the Queanbeyan project and the financing of it are identical yet the socio-economic needs of our community, which is almost a third bigger then Queanbeyan, have been ignored and actively campaigned against.
"Mr Singh needs to explain to this community why the children in this area should go without while the children of Queanbeyan, who happen to have Mr. Barilaro as their local member, secure State Government tenants to help defray the cost of construction."