The announcement that a design concept for the new library at Nambucca Heads has been selected has done little to allay the fears of community groups who use the two halls that make up the Community and Arts Centre precinct, adjacent to the library.
The design by Brisbane company, Vokes and Peters Architects, was chosen from a number of others presented to the project control committee overseeing the project.
The general manager, Michael Coulter, said it was an 'initial concept' and comments from the community, which are now invited, will be used to inform the final design.
Spokesperson for the community centre's 355 committee, Marlene Griffin, said it was disappointing to see the chosen concept did little towards finding a compromise for shared space between the library and the arts centre.
Photos showing the many uses of the shared space:
"We have been asking the same questions ever since this process began and it seems like they simply fall on deaf ears," Marlene said.
"The main issue continues to be the small hall, which includes a well-equipped kitchen and is used by so many community groups - this plan would see it subsumed into the library space ... what will happen to the kitchen? How will bookings be managed? What about groups who use the space in the evenings and on weekends, when the library is closed?"
The list of questions continues:
- What storage space will be available to groups who currently use the space - for example the U3A art group and the Valley Performers?
- How will the Nambucca Valley Arts Council operate its concerts and other activities, which currently use the small hall space for refreshments or for musicians performing in orchestral concerts?
- How will the Hall Committee maintain the large hall without the income from the small hall, which is currently 60 per cent of the total?
- The courtyard will also be lost - this is currently used for disabled access ... how will this need be met?
The final blow to residents, according to Marlene, is that the existing public toilets will be placed inside the library, and will hence only be accessible during opening hours.
"This is a huge inconvenience not only for residents but for visitors, as there are no other public toilets in this part of town."
Marlene said the Halls Committee had been working for 30 years, writing grant applications to get funds to improve the facilities of the two halls.
"Just recently the small hall has had a new stove, solar panels and new chairs. It is so sad to think all this will possibly be lost ... and for such a small gain.
"I really feel community feeling is being ignored here."
But it is not too late - the community now has the chance to express their feelings directly to the council with submissions received up until 4pm on Wednesday, January 15 - six weeks from now.
The concept can be viewed at: www.nambucca.nsw.gov.au; Council's Administration Centre, and Macksville or Nambucca Heads Libraries.
Submissions should be addressed to the General Manager, Nambucca Shire Council and can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, mailed to PO Box 177, Macksville NSW 2447 or left at Macksville or Nambucca Heads Library. Enquiries to Coral Hutchinson, Manager Community Development, 6568 0239.