OPINION: Counting the Cost of Nambucca Library Upgrade Opinion by News Of The Area - Modern Media - September 19, 2021 DEAR News Of The Area, WE have had news from Nambucca Valley Council that the tender for the Nambucca Library Upgrade will cost $3, 656,700 excluding GST. That amounts to a round figure of around $4 million. The original funding was a grant for $1.5 million from Create New South Wales (the NSW Government’s arts policy and funding body). Nambucca Valley Council then agreed to contribute funding to bring the total to $2 million. This leaves a shortfall of a further $2 million which is to be funded by a grant awarded to Council for ‘Local Roads and Community Infrastructure’. As we can see, the library upgrade is coming at considerable cost to public funds. It is possible that the costs could escalate further as the project unfolds. The disappointment is that although the cost is substantial, the design for the site and the constraints of building close to the rainforest area mean that there will only be a modest increase in ground floor space inside the new library. The purpose of the original grant from Create New South Wales was to increase cultural provision by creating ‘a cultural hub’ in our town. However, we already had a vibrant cultural hub in our town centered on this very site with concerts, exhibitions, live theatre and much more. These cultural events and activities are no longer possible as the library has relocated into the Main Hall and groups can no longer book the halls as a venue. The two halls will be unavailable for lettings by community groups until late 2022. In addition, there is a concern that public safety issues in the present design will deter organisers from making future bookings for events in the halls when this project is finished. So this vision of a new ‘cultural hub’ is unlikely to be realised even after spending $4 million of public funding. Instead we will unfortunately have lost our existing and very lively and vibrant cultural hub which has been nurtured and developed by hard work and volunteer commitment over the past 40 years. Most submissions to Council sent by local residents were opposed to these plans. Residents agree that Nambucca Library needs to expand, but this architectural design is coming at too great a cost both financially and culturally. The main benefit of the present plan will be an aesthetically pleasing landscaped courtyard. Let’s hope that existing plans might be modified as the project unfolds. The heavy machines have not arrived yet so there should be time for elements of the design to be revisited. We live in hope. Marlene GRIFFIN, Valla Beach.