Barwon Heads celebrates hub progress

May 21, 2020 BY

Barwon Heads Arts Council president aKaren Shirley with artist Kaz McGlynn and founding president Vicki Strachan, celebrate news of in-principle support for a new arts and community hub.

AFTER seven years of advocacy, the Barwon Heads Arts Council (BHAC) is rejoicing after a new arts and community hub received in-principle support for development to begin.
City of Greater Geelong councillors approved the concept design for the former kindergarten site at 5 Clifford Parade to undergo refurbishment on the existing building and the construction of a new arts building and outdoor space.
The city agreed to enter into a funding agreement with the state government, who committed $1 million towards a hub at the city-owned site, prior to the 2018 election.
Founding BHAC president Vicki Strachan said they formed in 2013 to advocate for a designated “communal arts space” on behalf of a strong local arts community.
“We formed to get the hub. There’s been a lot of work and advocacy on behalf of all community groups for more community space in
Barwon Heads.
“We’re an arts town with no dedicated arts space. Our vision for the hub was to build an inclusive and inviting space for the entire community to come together and connect; somewhere to make friends and learn new skills.”
Ms Strachan said the announcement by the council was testament to the “perseverance and tenacity” shown by the community to turn the vacant kinder, into the hub.
“It’s been vacant for years now, it’s a community asset that we wanted to turn into a community hub. We’d looked at other avenues and spaces but felt it was a perfect situation.”
The proposal is to include a flexible studio and program spaces, while a carpark for 20 cars, a maker space, a casual studio space, an outdoor studio and an outdoor social area will be built, subject to further detailed design.
Geelong mayor Stephanie Asher said the approved concept design was a “wonderful step” towards establishing a “much-needed” Barwon Heads arts and community hub.
“Over the years, we’ve received feedback from the community supporting the development of this type of facility and I look forward to hearing from locals again as we work out the finer details.”

Support for the approved layout has been received from the Barwon Heads Arts and Community Hub Project Working Group and Project Reference Group (including the BHAC, Barwon Heads Association and Barwon Heads Senior Citizens).
Cr Trent Sullivan said the hub was a fantastic opportunity to support the arts industry affected by current crisis.
“The Bellarine Peninsula has a vibrant arts community, which is proud to have a point of difference by being by the coast. This hub is a fantastic opportunity to support the arts industry, which has been significantly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
“I’m impressed with the concept design for this arts and community hub, which is exactly what the community wanted and will no doubt spark creativity amongst future users and see new friendships develop.”
The community will be given the opportunity to have its say as part of the next stage of development. Before development, a planning permit will be required and further community consultation.
The council has also referred the project to future budget processes for consideration.

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