As part of the response to COVID-19, on the 22 May 2020 the Federal Government announced a $500M Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program (LRCIP). As part of this program Council received $1,985,254 in funding.
On review of Council’s strategic plans and asset management plans, the installation of a new lift was recommended for delivery under the LRCIP.
The upstairs of the Brown Street complex, which encompasses the Hamilton Cinema, Hamilton Gallery, Hamilton PAC and the Council offices is currently serviced only by the Hamilton cinema lift, making it the only access point for people with accessibility issues.
As many community members would be aware, the Hamilton cinema lift is failing, unreliable and needs to be replaced. Council determined that rather replace the cinema lift and leave the Brown Street complex without disability access for a long period of time throughout construction, a second lift would be built at the Gallery. The new lift will then be the primary accessibility point for the complex.
The project tender was advertised on 31 July 2020 and Council awarded the contract at the October 2020 meeting to the Ultrabuild Construction Group Pty Ltd for the value of $208,000 (incl. GST).
Manager Cultural Arts Amy Knight said the lift installation works will require the Gallery to close in order to protect and maintain the integrity of the collection.
“The Gallery will close from 1 March – 6 June. This allows time for staff to de-install current exhibitions/collection and re-install new exhibitions once the lift is in place,” Knight said.
“Throughout the closure, the Hamilton Gallery team have put together a full program of works to ensure that customers don’t have to miss out on the Gallery experience!
– A POP-UP GALLERY will be established in a prominent location, which will showcase works from local artists.
– A PUBLIC ART EXPRESSION OF INTEREST will be released to the public to develop an artwork to help brighten the entry to the Gallery, Library and Cinema.
– A TOURING EXHIBITION of works and educational material from Hamilton Gallery will travel to early childhood and primary schools.
“There will also be a large program of works taking place within the Gallery, including alterations to collection stores and the audit and digitisation of the entire works on paper collection. Australian Museums and Galleries Association, Working for Victoria and Creative Victoria have partnered with Hamilton Gallery to employ two full time Support officers to implement this project over six months,” Knight said.
Southern Grampians Shire Mayor Bruach Colliton said while it is unfortunate we have to close the Gallery again, it is vitally important that we ensure our Brown Street buildings are accessible by all of our patrons.
“We want all of our community members to be able to access our cultural facilities and offices, so this is a very important project for us. It has been made possible thanks to COVID related funding from the State Government through the Local Government Community Infrastructure Program and we thank the State Government for this assistance to make this project happen” Cr Colliton said.
PAC ROOF REPLACEMENT
The current Performing Arts Centre (PAC) building in Hamilton was built in 1910.
Council undertook a condition assessment of its buildings in early 2019. The assessment found that while the main building is structurally sound and serviceable for use, the roof is in poor condition and suffering leakage issues. The report recommended the roof be replaced to maintain the structural integrity of the building.
In December 2020, Council awarded the tender contract for the Hamilton Performing Arts Centre Maintenance and Roof Replacement to BDH Construction Pty. Ltd for the value of $210,100.00 (incl. GST).
“The roof replacement will require the Hamilton PAC to remain closed until the beginning of July 2021,” Knight said.
“As they did throughout COVID lockdown, the Hamilton PAC team have adapted well and have expertly thought outside the box to be able to continue bringing the performing arts to the Greater Hamilton community throughout the closure of the building.
– The Wind in the Willows, direct from a sell-out season at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne, will take place at the Hamilton Botanic Gardens on Sat 6 February, with two shows at 10am and 6pm.
– Hidden Creatures is a series of school-based workshops that will culminate in a community art event held in conjunction with the Hamilton Gallery at the Botanic Gardens on Saturday 27 March
– The Merger, the stage play of comedian Damian Callinan, will show in Balmoral at the Mechanics Hall on Friday 7 May.
– Comedy Festival Roadshow will perform this year in Dunkeld at the Sterling Place Community Centre on 28 May
“A re-opening event is already being planned for July along with a full program of events for the second half of 2021 and we look forward to sharing this with our valued patrons,” Knight concluded.
“It’s unfortunate that the PAC needs to remain closed into 2021, however it is vital to the ongoing structural integrity of the building that we replace the roof as soon as possible,” Cr Colliton said.