Tensions were high at the November 28 Griffith City Council meeting, as councillors debated the future of the proposed art gallery and cultural precinct.
The proposed new art gallery project is on an indefinite hiatus due to the ongoing budget crunch across Griffith City Council - and looks to be going nowhere for the foreseeable future.
However, the Cultural Precinct Committee found a fortunate grant program to apply for, potentially funding an investigation and feasibility study into the next stage of the art gallery's future - deciding where to place it.
The Commonwealth Government's Regional Precincts and Partnerships Program could potentially fund a business case with no further financial contribution from Griffith - with the contribution instead taking the form of the Cultural Precinct Masterplan and proven partnerships between the council and artistic groups within the city.
"That contribution can be in cash, which we know we can't afford, but that contribution can also be of resources or land ... we can tick those two boxes," Councillor Jenny Ellis said.
"Just because we don't have money, doesn't mean we can't move onto the next step."
Councillor Dino Zappacosta put forth the motion that they should nominate the Tourism Hub as the preferred site of an art gallery, to disapproval from other councillors.
Councillor Shari Blumer said it would be irresponsible to vote on a preferred site before conducting a feasibility study and preparing a business case for the location.
"I take issue with the choosing of a site ... I think that if this council can learn anything from the past, it's that embarking on making decisions about projects with huge infrastructure possibilities is a mistake and we should enter into these feasibility studies and explorations with a very open mind," she said.
Councillor Blumer added that the Cultural Precinct Masterplan went beyond just adding a new art gallery, and suggested that the proposal devalued Griffith's other cultural offerings.
Councillor Ellis agreed.
"It is a shame that the site choice for an art gallery has overshadowed all the wonderful things in this masterplan."
Councillor Zappacosta went on to clarify that his proposal was simply to note the suggestion rather than approve it and move forward with the grant application.
The motion from Councillor Zappacosta to confirm the Tourism Hub as a preferred site but not apply for the grant was met with a five-all tie, with Mayor Doug Curran using his deciding vote to shoot the motion down.
A second motion to apply for the grant, without electing the Hub as a preferred site was also met with a tie, however this time Councillor Curran used the deciding vote to approve the motion.
Council will now go on to apply for the Regional Precincts and Partnerships grant, and if awarded, conduct a feasibility study on the different options for an art gallery.
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