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RCoW Survey for venue site, hall razing

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Council acts on centre
Survey for venue site, hall razing

WANGARATTA residents will be surveyed to gauge attitudes towards the performing arts centre and the demolition of the town hall.

Wangaratta council chief executive Doug Sharp said the survey would not be carried out by an independent group.

The council will also send newsletters to Wangaratta households following a presentation last week at the town hall on the details of the proposed $7.5 million arts centre.

Designed by the Melbourne-based Harmer Architecture, the performing arts centre would require the demolition of the town hall.

Wangaratta Senior Citizens Club president Marg Walters said members were still wondering where they would hold their activities if the town hall was demolished.

“We’re told we have to get out of the town hall whether it’s pulled down or not,” she said.

Mrs Walters said the club wanted a venue in the central business district.

That was because many members were unable to catch buses.

Council was recently presented with a petition containing about 5500 signatures asking for the town hall to be retained.

Mr Sharp said that since the council’s presentation last month several residents had contacted the council asking for their names to be removed from the petition.

“Of course we can’t do that,” he said.

The council needs $5 million from the Victorian Government’s Arts Infrastructure Fund for the project to proceed.

The fund has $20 million to be distributed over four years.

Mr Sharp said the council was asking for a large slice of the funding pie but believed its project was worthy.

“A lot of work has been done to this point and we are in a state of readiness that other councils could not hope to be,” he said.

Member for Murray Valley Ken Jasper said he was working with the council to secure Victorian Government funding.

“We certainly need a performing arts centre,” he said.

“The main concern is seeking to make sure we have got an appropriate level of financial assistance from government.”

Mr Jasper said the difficulty was that $5 million was needed to complete the performing arts centre.

“We need community consultation and the council has moved to get consultation.

“Everyone agrees we need a performing arts centre.

“It’s a matter of how we get it.”

Watchdog Comment
Experience shows that authorities do not hold public meetings or conduct surveys unless they know the outcome before the event.

Surveys are notorious for offering a choice of options to suit that outcome. The recent RCoW survey on the mobile library van that is nearing it’s use-by date offered about four options – not one of them was to replace the vehicle.

We wait with baited breath for the survey questions designed to provide the required outcome and to supercede the more than 6,000 petition signatures who objected to the demolition of the Memorial Town Hall.


Written by Greg Naylor

7 August 2006 at 8:02 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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