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“Clean slate” for council to decide on Hamilton’s gallery location

SOUTHERN Grampians Shire councillors will have a “clean slate” to decide where the new Hamilton art gallery will be located, after they voted to drop their commitment to building the gallery at Lake Hamilton.

Councillor Albert Calvano put forward a motion at Wednesday’s council meeting to rescind a decision made by the previous council in December 2018 to commit to a gallery at Lake Hamilton.

Cr Calvano said it was no longer appropriate to be committed to a Lake Hamilton site when the council had decided in August last year to seek a business case for a CBD gallery.

“The letters received recently in our local newspaper, The Spectator, for the new Hamilton gallery tend to favour the CBD where the present gallery is situated,” he said.

“Because of this contentious issue, the past councillors were not fully united, creating dissension and a division of opinions.

“We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to bring tourism and showcase our art gallery and civic space.

“With many shops in our CBD closed and a decline in retail … to have an expansion of the present gallery and creating a civic precinct would only stimulate our declining CBD.

“For the new Hamilton gallery to be a successful project it needs to have foot traffic, not (be) placed in an isolated place causing a security risk to all our well-maintained treasures.”

The motion was met with support from four other councillors, David Robertson, Greg McAdam, Helen Henry and Bruach Colliton.

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