Cultural precinct deserves community attention

It is important that Lismore City Councils draft business plan discussion paper for the CBD cultural precinct gets the attention The Echo offered its readers last week.

The Arts and Cultural Advisory Policy Group (PAG) to Lismore City Council is keen to ensure that residents make up their own minds about a complex project that will require predictable negotiation as the process to develop the old Lismore High School site unfolds.

For over seven years members of the Lismore community committed to developing art in the heart of the CBD have been working closely with Council to ensure the cultural life of this regional city is enhanced by purpose built amenities. Such facilities will include an art gallery, museum, research centre, keeping place and landscaped outdoor recreational spaces, and all are adequately dealt with in the paper.

The PAG endorses Option 2 proposed by the consultants to the discussion paper. Residents can find the document on the Council website and see for themselves that this complex project has satisfied their aspirations.

They will recognise that it is imperative that the total arts component be addressed at once. While acknowledging that the whole project will need to be staged the arts component needs to be the first stage.

There are many stakeholders in this substantial project that will have an impact on the revitalisation of the CBD, on cultural tourism and investment in construction and jobs. The media is one, and it has a responsibility to ensure the details it shares with its readers can be substantiated. Other local and regional interests are keen that support for government investment in a cultural precinct development occurs, that private money is invested in best practice in design alongside sympathetic resident and commercial premises.

The PAG encourages residents to inform Council of their support for this initiative. It deserves attention from all.

Ros Irwin

Chair, Arts and Culture Policy Advisory Group

Lismore City Council

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