'Short-sighted' library plan not for council
IT SEEMS Southern Downs Regional Council has its own vision for the Stanthorpe Library and Art Gallery precinct.
As part of a Stanthorpe Library Feasibility Study, the council engaged in community consultation in August, receiving 206 survey and 21 written submissions.
Out of those, 69per cent voted for the option of keeping the library in its existing building, "extended or not, and with or without the art gallery co-located”.
Nearly 30per cent favoured moving the library to a new location.
But it seems councillors have grander visions and say they'll now continue liaising with the Stanthorpe Regional Art Gallery committee to progress the plan as quickly as possible.
Deputy Mayor Jo McNally said opting to follow the status quo on the topic would be short-sighted.
"The feedback we received, I'm going to be quite blunt, was disappointing. It wasn't thinking about both the art gallery and library moving forward, it was about what's happening now and wanting things to stay the same.
"If you visit other libraries you'll see they are ever-changing, they are community hubs, as is the art gallery. So to say they should both stay where they are, it's not a good outcome for the community.
"We deserve better.
"The art gallery and the collection they have is second to none and they are known around the country, and the Art Prize is known around the country.
"When the Fairfaxes (Art Prize special guests) came up to the Art Prize, they gave the gallery $50,000. They understand what part (galleries) play in communities, especially communities like ours.
"We're not all about sport, we need culture in our lives as well. So I think to say they can stay where they are, tack a little bit on the end, well that doesn't do anything.
"I just think it's very short-sighted and it's not what this community deserves.”
Mayor Tracy Dobie agreed.
"I'm talking about the library - to be cramped into a small space in this day and age when libraries are becoming wonderful community hubs for all sorts of activities,” she said.
"I think we need to relook at it because I'm disappointed in the responses.
"Our role is to think about the future of the region. It is going to take years to do this development and we have to start thinking about it now.”
The council will hold a meeting in October with the gallery committee - which council CEO David Keenan said had "significant funds” to move forward with redevelopment - to discuss how it will progress.