THE POTENTIAL for a $45 million art gallery built on the Leschenault Inlet foreshore should not be abandoned, according to City of Bunbury Mayor David Smith.
The comment comes after last week’s heated council debate on the preferred location of a new gallery or expansion of the existing building.
Mayor Smith said he thought bringing the issue to council now was “premature” as there had been no submissions made to the state government.
“Given the (state government) money that has been given to entertainment and culture in Albany and Busselton, we shouldn’t write the art gallery off until we have made a proposal,” he said.
But Mayor Smith said securing $40 million for a foreshore art gallery would reduce the capacity to secure money for other projects, so council needed to decide if it wanted to “put all its eggs in one basket.”
City chief executive officer Andrew Brien said an important factor was the ongoing cost of a multi-million dollar gallery.
“Maintenance costs would be between five and 10 per cent which amounts to $2 million a year – we don’t want to end up with a gallery that we can’t afford to run.”
Mayor Smith said councillors had debated the size and aesthetics of the gallery, but he believed the real issue was what went inside it.
“The important thing is what goes into the gallery, what would attract people to see it – we need to be able to offer specialist WA modern art.”
At last week’s meeting, council decided to leave its options open until the results of Bunbury 2030 and Leschenault Inlet master plan surveys were reviewed.
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