Yes Cr Hackett, Byron Shire is well overdue for a culture and arts policy. Take the unchallenged transformation of what started out as the Byron Bay Library Community and Exhibition Space (BBCES) (aka The Lone Goat Gallery).
For many the vision for this space was a community hub for multifaceted creative endeavour, and the opportunity to enrich the cultural life of the wider community.
Its environs, as part of the library complex, further added to its potential in this role.
As a community we have been duped into thinking we got a good library.
The grand exterior gives the impression of generous proportions but the dedicated library space is quite small, locked out of half the building’s floorspace with the potential range of literary events hugely limited. Look at our neighbours.
The BBCES could have been a venue for forums, book launches, intimate music recitals etc, instead of a trendy little warehouse for pictures on the walls lacking breadth of cultural support and enjoyment.
The achievement of an exclusive visual arts facility took place in a few easy steps. I wrongly thought the coup de grace was the $30,000 that Council was persuaded to outlay for a gallery coordinator.
Envisaged as community space and self-supporting, it’s now under a board of management with the ultimate aim of being removed from Council’s umbrella.
Not yet sufficiently removed though to prevent the successful request for an almost doubling of the remuneration. Where to next?