FORMER Albury Council general manager Les Tomich is expected to be sounded out to head up the fund-raising group aiming to secure $1.05 million from private and philanthropic sources for the art gallery redevelopment.
The council wants a leading local person to “champion the project” and be the group’s public face.
The remainder of the group will be made up of mayor Alice Glachan, council’s cultural precinct advisory committee representative Cr Graham Docksey and representatives from the Albury Wodonga Art Foundation, Friends of the Albury Regional Art Gallery, chamber of commerce, Regional Development Australia (Murray region) and Murray Regional Tourism.
Senior council staff including Mr Tomich’s replacement, Frank Zaknich, director James Jenkins and Jacqui Hemsley would also be part of the committee.
Cr Glachan wouldn’t comment on the likelihood of Mr Tomich taking up the role.
“It is something we need to get on with,” she said yesterday.
“We need someone who has the respect of the wider community and is well known within the business and industry groups in our region.
“It would also be someone who not only understands local government, but all of government.
“They clearly have to have good diplomatic and negotiating skills and be somebody the council is comfortable with and the staff are comfortable with.”
Mr Tomich said recently the art gallery would “put Albury on the map as a cultural destination”.
He retired at the end of last year after 26 years with the council including six years as general manager before undergoing heart surgery at the end of 2011.
The council is optimistic about the fund-raising group achieving its $1.05 million target following discussions with the Australian Business Arts Foundation, Philanthropy Australia and fund-raising consultants in the arts area.
“We have a realistic expectation that we can attract substantial non-government funding for the redevelopment and it’s an avenue that we will pursue vigorously,” Cr Glachan said.
The council is looking to finalise its funding agreement with the federal government by March 17, appoint an architect and start the Retro Cafe’s relocation from Burrows House.
The art gallery has to be completed by June 2015.
“Things are now tight because we are starting a month after we had originally hoped,” Cr Glachan said.
“But it is still achievable and the whole process will be managed very carefully.”