THE idea of a new permanent stage in Bicentennial Park is a “real pity”, one councillor says.
Tamworth Regional Council is about to release its draft plan for cultural and artistic endeavors and projects for the next five years.
It includes a proposal for a “permanent outdoor stage structure” in Bicentennial Park.
While council is just looking for feedback, floating the idea of a new permanent stage in the park caused a stir in the chambers.
Juanita Wilson said it would become another “habitat for antisocial behaviour” and the cost of hiring and constructing a stage for the country music festival could be transferred to the management and maintenance.
She said it would demand funding from the same source as the proposed performing arts centre and wouldn’t attract the same amount of use.
“Currently, we have one used for 10 nights in the country music festival,” she said.
“If we attracted one new event a month, that’s only 22 nights a year.
“There’s well-over 330 days where it’s not getting used.”
She feared council could get stuck with a structure with no flexibility for changes in technology and audience expectations.
Cr Wilson moved an amendment to strike the item from the draft plan before it went on exhibition and said it was one of those times “when leaders have to be leaders”.
Russell Webb, Phil Betts and Col Murray spoke against the amendment and rallied to let the community have their say on the draft plan first.
With Glen Inglis absent, the council was spilt four votes apiece on the amendment and the mayor used his casting vote to shoot it down.
“I can’t support it in any shape or form,” Cr Murray said.
“I’m not convinced a permanent structure would be an extra cost to council,” he said. “It’s quite expensive to build a temporary structure.
“If we had a fit-for-purpose structure we might even be able to encourage more events and more people to the park.”