Performing Arts Centre essential to Gosford – but where to put it?

In recent months Central Coast Council has come up with six possible sites for a Performing Arts Centre for Gosford.

Leagues Club Park, Poppy Park, StHilliers site, Kibbleplex, behind the Central Coast Conservatorium, Broadwater Hotel

Whoever selected the first four sites obviously has no knowledge of Gosford’s past or the issues surrounding each of those sites. Was it our newby councillors or the senior staff? Either way they must be living on another planet.

A cursory investigation would have revealed;

Leagues Club park is reclaimed swamp (let’s not ask what the fill comprised) with an aboriginal claim over it, Poppy Park has an aboriginal claim over it. StHilliers paid good money for the former school site and have great plans for its development and Kibbleplex was sold to the Lederer Group who have plans for its development (even if council is presently giving them a hard time over it.).

That leaves the Conservatorium site and the old Broadwater Hotel site (next to the Council Chambers).

Due to the continuing arguments about the location the CC Conservatorium of Music have moved ahead with their own plans for their own performance space and performing arts centre (see story Page 11) on council land behind Conservatorium’s present heritage site.

We believe that this is good thinking on the Con’s part as they have, under CEO Patrick Brennan, become the backbone of the music scene on the Central Coast running exciting events and encouraging young artists among all the other teaching programmes they run.

And, they have the runs on the board to prove it. They have a reputation that we can all be proud of.

They should have their own stand alone space and there are funds available through other sources as well as locating it on the council owned land to rear of the site.

At the same time there is the opportunity to link the Conservatorium to a Regional Performing Arts Centre (to take the large scale productions) on the adjoining Broadwater Hotel site.

So, the Conservatorium has their own space which they would totally control and a separate PAC would be run by Council or someone competent.

The Broadwater site is quite large and would comfortably accommodate such a project plus provide additional commercial or even residential space on top. After all who is going to pay for this but above all who is going to pay the ongoing operating costs? (Operating costs for the Port Macquarie Performing Arts Centre are crippling that council) Anyone thought of that?

Meanwhile both State and Federal Governments are anxious to pour $32 million into the project while Council has $10 million tucked away. (Whether $32 million is enough when Chatswood’s Performing Arts Centre cost $70 million is another matter.)

Creating a cultural centre

While we the debate rages as to the location of a Performing Arts Centre no one is talking about the another cultural asset that is hidden away from site at East Gosford.

The Gosford Regional Galley should never ever have been sited where it is. It should have been in the centre of Gosford.

Cities to flourish need a civic heart with a cultural centre. Gosford City is the Capital of the Central Coast. Right now there is no heart!