Southern Grampians Shire Council is undertaking a significant amount of groundwork to progress the establishment of a New Hamilton Gallery (NHG) and have now resolved to undertake a comparative assessment of a potential CBD site.
Southern Grampians Shire Council Mayor Cr Chris Sharples said a master plan, concept design and business case for CBD Civic site will allow Councillors to have informed discussions and make the best possible decision around the location for the NHG.
“A comprehensive site selection was undertaken by consultants Denton Corker Marshall architects in 2018 and this identified two proposed sites, being a CBD location and a site at Lake Hamilton,” Cr Sharples said.
“Council obviously resolved on the Lake as the preferred site in late 2018, however there has never been a consistent view, either among the Councillors or the community, that this is definitively the ultimate location.
“A project this significant, needs substantial support from Council and the community in order to progress. We acknowledge that there is more work to do to ensure community buy-in with this project, and this is why we’ve decided to now properly examine the potential for the Gallery in the CBD,” Cr Sharples said.
Only freehold land for sale, or with a likelihood of being purchased via private treaty on mutually acceptable terms to both parties (ie not compulsory acquisition), will be considered within the scope of the assessment.
“Last time, there was a significant amount of conjecture over the proposed compulsory acquisition of existing businesses. We assure those businesses that this will not happen again. We’re only looking at land currently for sale, owned by Council or land we may have the potential to purchase down the track”.
The potential for development of a civic space will be considered as part of this CBD assessment, incorporating feedback from the 2020 Hamilton CBD Masterplan and the 2011 Brown Street Arts and Cultural Precinct concept plan.
The new assessment will be funded from savings in the 2020-21 Cultural Arts operational budget based on Covid-19 professional program suspensions and recruitment delays.
Work will now commence on seeking quotations for the project, with the expectation that a new assessment will be ready to present to the newly elected Council early in 2021.