THE momentous issue facing our shire in the future, if we are to believe the projections, is retaining and encouraging a younger demographic to ensure a heathly society as we move towards 2031.
During the recent workshops, which I thank the council for, much was discussed regarding how this can be achieved.
One of the goals that stood out for me was to make our shire a centre of learning and a centre for the arts.
Make no mistake, the arts mean business and tourism. If, in the future, Wingecarribee could provide a tertiary campus specialising in eco courses with, say, a music school attached, and/or drama and visual art schools, then we not only maintain our pristine environment and encourage young people to the shire, but also become Australia’s premier arts destination – a boutique centre of learning.
As a beginning towards achieving this vision for our shire, we need a purpose-built, multi-functional building to house a theatre, an experimental space, a regional art gallery and cafe to retain the building’s financial viability.
All this is achievable if the community, with the help of the council, sets up a foundation and a time frame to raise the money needed. Then, in the future, the tertiary, specialised campus would follow.
A great site for the multi-purpose art centre, for instance, would be Sherwood Village in Bowral. Or perhaps the council, in the future, could provide a piece of land for building such a centre, but it would have to be in a town and near transport.
To this end, the proposed refurbishment of Bowral Memorial Hall is a step in the right direction.
While I support this plan and applaud the instigators, it does not provide the long-term needs of this community i.e. to have a thriving arts centre and to put the Highlands on the touring map for Australian producers. The magic number of seats for this to occur is 400.
The Wingecarribee 2031+ workshops were to set goals. The next workshops will deal with ways to achieve the goals.
GERALDINE TURNER OAM