The Tura Tavern, which was purchased by Bega Valley Shire Council on June 13, will not house the regional gallery but will become a branch library and offer community meeting spaces and a café/reception area.
At an earlier meeting of council it had been proposed to use some of the space for the regional gallery. Council asked for submissions from the public and received a total of 15, of which eight related to the regional gallery. Five submissions objected to moving the gallery to Tura and preferred to see the regional gallery remain in Bega while three submissions were in favour of the move.
At the council meeting on Wednesday, September 25, councillors were asked to vote on the recommendation that did not include the use of the space for the regional gallery.
Councillor Russell Fitzpatrick said that he would vote against the motion which did not include the use of the space for the regional gallery. “I believe the regional gallery should be moved in. It’s just going to be a community meeting room and I will vote against it,” he said.
Councillor Kirsty McBain also voiced her disappointment with the proposals. “I thought this was a real opportunity for council to have a real destination for a regional gallery with a café, beautiful surroundings and a chance to borrow books at the same time. This doesn’t do this,” she said.
But according to councillor Liz Seckold there wasn’t room for the gallery at Tura. Mayor Bill Taylor said that he would support the motion because it was “effectively a very cheap community space”.
Cr Taylor said: “The regional gallery is a separate issue which requires funds. This (the Tura facility) can still be used as an exhibition space but the future of the regional gallery is a separate issue.”
In a report to council, the acting group manager community and relationships, Simon Schweitzer said: “The site meets the requirements of the NSW State Library, it is expected that grant funds will be available to assist with the fit out of the library section and fittings from the current Merimbula site will be utilised. The relocation of the community services section meets requirements around disability access, provides a space that suits the delivery of these specific service types and provides a community services presence in another part of the shire.”
Mr Schweitzer added that co-locating Sapphire Coast Tourism and South East Arts provided an opportunity for tourism and arts collaboration.
However Mr Schweitzer highlighted the need to find an alternative site to house the Shirley Hannan collection as a priority. Currently it is planned to provide this in appropriately controlled and designed storage space in the Bega depot redevelopment, he said.
Council has said that the internal fit out of both the Tavern and the residence will be funded from a number of existing sources including savings in the library development budget, sale of poker machine licences and a contribution from community services reserves held from the sale of the HACC building. Once a detailed design has been completed a full costing will be reported to council.
It was resolved on the motion of Crs Sharon Tapscott and Ann Mawhinney
That Council adopt the proposed uses as outlined in the report:
Tavern Upper Level
· Branch Library, office space, work room, community meeting room
· Covered outdoor community space
· Café/Reception space
· BVSC Community Service Programs
· Community meeting room
Tavern Lower Level
· Large multi-use community meeting spaces/community exhibition space
· Community offices for use or allocation to community groups
· Community work room
· Sapphire Coast Tourism and South East Arts (downstairs)
· Meeting Room (downstairs)
· ICT Business incubator and office spaces (upstairs)
In favour: Crs Taylor, Hughes, Tapscott, Seckold, Mawhinney and Allen, against: Crs McBain and Fitzpatrick, absent: Cr Britten.