Old gallery tenure criticised - Group criticises Council over lack of consultation

By LUIS FELIU

A VOLUNTEER support group has criticised Tweed Shire Council's decision over the future use of the former art gallery building in Murwillumbah, saying the community had not been consulted over the issue. Council last week voted to dedicate the old gallery building for two years after June next year for shared multipurpose use between the fifth City of the Arts program, which currently uses it as a workshop space, and for a focus and exhibition space for the shire's proposed new museum. Tweed Palliative Support (TPS) president Helen Lewis said she was astonished by Council's decision to tie up the building for a further two years rather than make a long-term decision about its future. "Three weeks ago a Council resolution called for a report on possible uses after June 2005 and said that the public should have input," Ms Lewis said. "We were told that this would take about two months to prepare and were assured that our expression of interest lodged in 2003 would be considered. "Suddenly, Council is presented with a document that doesn't address any of the requisite issues and on that basis they make a decision." TPS, she said, had made no secret of its hope to establish a hospice and health support centre for the Tweed community in the building. "However it concedes there are many other interested parties and is not looking for special treatment, just a fair go," she said. "The important thing is that there is an open and transparent process for making the decision and that the community gets a say. "Council has known for years that the building would become vacant - it is time for them to stop shilly-shallying around and make a proper long-term decision on this valuable community facility." The group's current home in a Tweed Shire Council-owned building in Nullum Street, Murwillumbah, she said, was due to be sold early next year.



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