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Council seeks public opinion on Town Hall

Public interest to determine Deniliquin Town Hall refurbishment.

ZOE MCMAUGH August 26, 2014 3:50am

Deniliquin Council says public interest will determine the level of effort to be put in to the Deniliquin Town Hall.

General manager Des Bilske said a community survey is now open to determine whether the facility will be completely redeveloped or simply made ‘‘functional’’.

As council prepares to put out tenders to repair the historic building’s roof, Mr Bilske said it was an opportune time to revisit what the community wants.

‘‘We want to try and get some input from the community – what should we do with it? Should we keep it and keep investing in it?

‘‘It is no good spending $4 million or $5 million on a Town Hall that nobody wants to use.

‘‘It is great to have a beautiful Town Hall, but we need to make sure it is functional.

‘‘We need to make sure it meets community needs but is not a cost burden to ratepayers.

‘‘If there is no set focus for the facility we will need to spend some time looking at it.

‘‘If the message is to leave it as is we will take a minimal approach and just do what is needed to make it functional – including new toilets.

‘‘Regardless of what the community wants we will need to do something, because we are certainly not going to demolish it.’’

The Town Hall was earmarked as the potential home of a Deniliquin Arts and Cultural Centre following a series of community meetings in 2005, which was supported by Deniliquin Council.

Council formed a steering committee and engaged a consultant to come up with a concept plan. Preliminary plans were to include dressing rooms, rehearsal or studio spaces, meeting, conference and seminar rooms, a box office, cafe/bar facilities, kitchen, upper stages, control room and an elevator for disabled users.

There were also plans to include permanent rooms for local cultural, arts and music organisations who wish to make the Town Hall their home base.

A suggestion was made to install permanent tiered seating in the facility, but community opposition led to proposals of retractable seating.

The plans have never been progressed, other than government funding allowing for the creation of a commercial-grade kitchen.

The Town Hall has since been plagued with structural concerns that have limited its use, including a temporary abandonment in 2010 due to a cracking facade.

With many of the organisations intended to use the Town Hall cultural centre finding new homes in the meantime, Deniliquin Mayor Lindsay Renwick said reviewing the redevelopment plans might be an option.

Always intended to house a ground level council chambers to improve access to the community, Cr Renwick suggested the Town Hall could also provide much needed office space for council staff.

The hall’s social and community aspects, including the dancefloor and stage, would be retained.

The Town Hall survey can be downloaded from the Deniliquin Council website – www.deniliquin.nsw.gov.au.

To get a copy sent to you, email helen.donoghue@deniliquin.nsw.gov.au or phone council on 58983000.

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