[Forum] In response to Bruce Hyland’s letter “We should make every effort to get the concert hall right” which appeared in edition 219, Yes Mr Hyland, I and several other members of FOPAP (Friends of the Performing Arts Precinct Inc. ), do care.
Perhaps you were not around, or interested, when FOPAP presented its business case to Gosford City Council (GCC), for establishing our vision on the site of the former Gosford Public School.
I have not found your name on the membership lists that I helped maintain between 2008-2010. FOPAP’s August newsletter, 2010/4, mentions that the then Director, City Centre Development for GCC, ‘praised the community participation in the Gosford Challenge… Business Plan for Gosford Performing Arts and Cultural Centre (GPACC) under review and the development of a funding strategy which will involve GCC approaching both Federal and State Governments for their contributions. ’
Another quote from that GCC’s Mid Course Review says: ‘Ray Ellem, Architect, reported on the latest design changes made and went on to list some benefits which would flow from the GPACC relating to lifestyle and tourism. The revised Arts Centre plan can be viewed at the Gosford Challenge website.
That site was then recognised as our region’s premier tourism, cultural and educational magnet, as the Opera House has legitimately become for Sydney. It was a huge slap in the face for the hundreds of FOPAP members and supporters at the time (2004-2015), after the Gosford Public School site dedicated for “educational purposes” was illegitimately taken over for private development of office buildings on behalf of the Federal and State Coalition Governments.
Now we have to reconsider sites. I have now been looking through my clippings on the Regional Performing Arts Centre (RPAC) since 2015 and see that you have since then opposed a site in Gosford, due to its topography and traffic chaos. However, I think it is time for all Central Coast Councillors and senior staff to bite the bullet on using the Broadwater Hotel site in Mann St which they already own.
This has the space for a 1,000 seat concert hall to make it commercially viable for our sizeable and successful country music industry, as well as other music and performances, and a smaller acoustic venue for our wonderful local Symphony and Chamber musicians, choirs and other bands, in a location close to existing railway and bus lines.
It also has the advantage of being only a few steps away from the Central Coast Conservatorium. If you are interested, do join us at the FOPAP Annual General Meeting at 3 pm on November 23, at the Robert Knox Hall, Central Coast Conservatorium, Gosford. You can pay at the door to become a member and contribute your expertise.
Email, Nov 12 Romaine Rutnam, Avoca Beach