TAFE proposal ‘music to the ears’ for Conservatorium

Claire Braund Photo: Sue Graham

Central Coast Conservatorium of Music has applauded last week’s announcement that the State Government will buy key sites in Mann St and Georgiana Tce, Gosford, to form part of a huge TAFE campus and affordable housing precinct.

Conservatorium President, Claire Braund, said confirmation that the Conservatorium’s facilities would be incorporated into the new TAFE campus was “a great relief”.

“It has been an ongoing challenge to secure the future of the Conservatorium and build a fit-for-purpose facility for our students, teachers and staff,” Braund said.

“For years we have had to make-do and beg and borrow rehearsal spaces and practice rooms from shopping centres, churches and halls.

“The welcome news that we can work with another education provider to design a purpose-built facility will be ‘music to the ears’ of the many thousands of supporters of the Conservatorium community.”

The Conservatorium is the Crown Land lessee of 45 Mann St, the oldest building in Gosford, which is currently being restored and updated with a $2M NSW Government grant.

Work on stage 2 will recommence early in January with anticipated completion sometime in Term 2.

To boost its teaching facilities, the Conservatorium leases 126 Georgiana Tce from Council.

The site was listed for sale by Council as part of its debt recovery plan, potentially impacting up to 500 students a week who in pre-COVID times attended the site for lessons and rehearsals.

“This was clearly a major threat to our security and our future – a threat that has been effectively mitigated by this announcement,”

Claire Braund CCCM

She said the Conservatorium had been invited to work with LandCom, TAFE and the NSW Government on the proposed facilities and was looking forward to being part of planning.

“The opportunity to partner with TAFE and explore options for new courses and programs in the music and performance space is very exciting for the future of music education and performance on the Central Coast” Braund said.

Member for Gosford Liesl Tesch also welcomed the announcement but said she would reserve further comment until she sees some action.

“The announcement is a proposal to investigate maybe building a new TAFE here in Gosford,” Tesch said.

“Let’s be clear, this isn’t the opening of a new building or even the signing of a contract to start construction – this is just a proposal.

Liesl Tesch MP for Gosford

“Forgive me for being a little cynical but until we see shovels in the ground this is just another thought-bubble like the commuter car parks for Woy Woy and Gosford or the University Campus at the old Mitre 10 building.”

Tesch said the prospect of affordable housing being included in the project was encouraging.

“Living on the Coast has become completely unattainable for so many in our community,” she said.

“I’m glad (the Government is) finally waking up to this problem – however we’ll (need to) see it to believe it.”

Terry Collins