Further offer of land for gallery

FORMER deputy prime minister Doug Anthony and his wife Margo, who donated the site of the new Tweed River Art Galley, have offered more land.

Tweed Shire councillors today are due to vote on whether to accept the gift of more land extending a further 25 metres along Mistral Road into the Anthony’s farmland.

Council officers said the extra land would allow for the “future development of a natural amphitheatre facility for outdoor presentations and the inclusion of additional public art sculptures to enhance the site”.

They said the original plan for the gallery identified that the proposed site was suitable for an outdoor amphitheatre and it was included in the original concept drawings.

“The larger grassed area also provides an excellent location for visitors and school groups to congregate safely for relaxed family-orientated outdoor activities,” the officers said.

“At present the only additional maintenance costs will be the additional mowing and grass-cutting time required by council staff.”

They said Mr Anthony was “keen to finalise this gift of land as soon as possible”.

Mr Anthony originally offered the current site of the art gallery in 1995 and the $3.6 million building was officially opened in February 2004.

At the time the council took out a controversial $1.9 million loan to build the gallery, sparking criticism the money could be better used on other work.

The council also used $500,000 from the sale of shire-owned land in Wardrop Valley which is now the site of the Industry Central industrial estate, while public donations and grants from the state and federal governments made up the shortfall.

Funds pledged by members of the public amounted to $381,000

The friends of the gallery group asked it 930 members to donate $82,000 to pay for air-conditioning in the foyer, shop and restaurant area.

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