Question at tonight’s Council meeting – To allow to put the elephant in a rats cage or not?
By Councillor John Arkan
” I am passionate about a new cultural and civic precinct. A precinct that has room to expand with the growing city.
I understand the need and commit to give the library, museum and gallery the adequate space to serve the population of the city.
However, the Gordon street is too busy and the site too small for the cultural precinct.
I commend the Mayors commitment to the project I repeat, this is not a win or lose situation.
Our job as councillors is not merely to fulfil the current need but to look at the future needs. We can’t ignore the fact that with current solution, we are trying to put an elephant in a rats cage.
We have explored the capacity of Gordon street site that can give us a library across three floors of the building.
Currently, the library is on one floor and is easily accessible for all. Therefore, we are not placing the library in a better position. The new building will increase the service delivery cost even more because of it being spread over three floors.
The museum will only house 10% of its collection in the newly proposed building. Council will need to spend more money to have a storage shed to house the rest of the 90% of its collection. So the proposed building is not solving the museums problem either. They will need to cart the items in and out for display from offsite.
The Art Gallery is spread over two floors in the proposed building. It’s not ideal for the Art Gallery either.
The council staff offices are getting less space than they currently occupy. In the new building, they will have shared hot desks and staff will be expected to work from home with laptops and mobile technologies. Has this model been tested to be productive? We don’t know. In effect, we are losing dramatic amount of space and not future proofing the city.
If tonight’s resolution is rescinded , the Mayor is selling four council assets in including two of our valuable council assets in the CBD, the solid admin building and the Rigby House building currently enjoying the view to the Fitzroy Oval.
In the new building, what will be the view outside? Currently we have 3100sq in Castle street, and 1200sq Rigby house + another extra 1200sq that we hire.
We are losing a dramatic amount of space and not future proofing the city.
We need time, we need a change of spirit to explore other alternatives to achieve the goals.
We are the peoples representatives, elected to listen and act for the benifit of the city. Not only the CBd, not only the jetty or a particular section of this beautiful city.
Let’s hope, pray or what ever one does to explore hope, common sense and the people s voice is heard.
Other than the photo used the above is an unedited reproduction of a piece Cr Arkan put up on his Facebook page today Thursday 8 August 2019. It is republished in full.