WHILE the excitement felt yesterday morning at the Grafton Regional Gallery was palatable, thanks to the announcement of its successful $7.5 million grant application, don’t expect the bulldozers to arrive tomorrow.
The gallery’s faithful and many supporters from across the Clarence Valley met in the sunny courtyard of cultural heart of the Valley yesterday morning to bask in the glow the place was feeling after receiving the news.
There is a long road ahead but that begins today according to Clarence Valley Council environment, planning and community director, Des Schroder.
“The funding means the Council can start the development process without delay,” Mr Schroder said.
“Like any developer, we need to put in a development application, consult with the community and organise tenders,” he said.
“We’re fortunate in that most of the design work has already been prepared, but I still believe it will be early 2019 before we see any work begin.”
Deputy Premier John Barilaro said their job was the easy part. “We write a cheque, you have the hard job ahead, you have to build it.
“You have a beautiful gallery and beautiful story to tell here. It was an easy investment by NSW Government.”
Member for Clarence Chris Gulatpis said to the ecstatic crowd of about one hundred that there would be a lot of people here that did not think this day would happen, “but it is finally a reality”.
Clarence Valley Mayor Jim Simmons also acknowledged the gargantuan moment in the gallery’s history thanking the government for “its bloody big grant” and getting us to this point.
Foundation chair Rod Watters reemphasized how amazing the past year had been. “The gallery was on its knees not so long ago and we put up a fight. Thankfully we’ve won.”
Story by Lesley Apps – Grafton Daily Examiner