AN Albury councillor has warned the Retro Youth Cafe could become a victim of TAFE budget cuts.
Cr Henk van de Ven said he had been approached by Wodonga TAFE looking for some certainty around its operation of the youth cafe.
The cafe is located in Burrows House which will be a major part of the $10.5 million art gallery redevelopment.
Wodonga TAFE’s lease with the council is up for renewal later this year when work might have already started on the art gallery upgrade.
“I thought they were looking for some certainty up to the end of the study year in the middle of November,” Cr van de Ven said.
“The concern expressed to me was they couldn’t get funding for a six-month provision of the service.
“Since the election last year this has been the issue of interest to the community and particularly young people.
“They want to know where the youth cafe is going.”
Cr van de Ven raised the issue during the community and cultural committee meeting on Monday night with committee chairman Cr Kevin Mack declaring a conflict of interest.
Cr Mack is a board member of Wodonga TAFE and Cr Ross Jackson deputised in his absence.
Community and recreation director James Jenkins told the meeting the council was having ongoing discussions with Wodonga TAFE.
But he said until the council made a concrete decision on the art gallery no firm commitments could be given.
“The Wodonga TAFE people we have been talking to are aware of the time frames involved,” he said.
“The tenure in the building is one of the variables they have been trying to nail down.
“We can’t give them any certainty at this stage if we haven’t got a decision as to whether the art gallery is going to proceed.”
Mr Jenkins said the youth cafe could be forced to vacate Burrows House within four to six months if the art gallery goes ahead.
“The four to six-month period is critical to us,” he said.
“Originally the time period we set aside for detailed design and commencement of demolition was seven months.”
Mr Jenkins said the council was under time constraints due to requirements relating to the guaranteed $3.5 million federal government funding.
The council will make a final decision on whether the art gallery project goes ahead later this month.