NEWCASTLE lord mayor Jeff McCloy has always claimed to be a businessman first and a politician second. It’s starting to look the other way around.
His media announcement (‘‘Put gallery in picture: mayor’’ Herald 7/1) advocated putting the art gallery extension in the former post office.
It’s been suggested before. It’s also a very flawed idea that makes very little long-term strategic or business sense.
Did he ask the gallery staff for an expert opinion? Did he consult with any councillor colleagues?
The gallery extension to the existing building is meant to allow for integration of exhibitions in state-of-the-art gallery design and conditions.
It also allows for the most efficient use of staff.
It’s not rocket science.
Is he aware of the funds that must be spent on the existing building, even if the extension doesn’t go ahead?
The gallery has run out of storage space. How would his idea accommodate that serious problem?
Then there’s the loss of potential earning capacity of retail along Darby Street, which forms part of the existing plan.
Would the Darby Street site be set aside for long-term expansion or sold off to help defray costs? Would the $7million federal grant be withdrawn?
Then there’s the comparable maintenance costs between the Laman/Darby Street and post office sites. Would gallery visitors travel to both sites?
The post office desperately needs a sympathetic future and the gallery needs to be expanded on its existing site, using the existing proposal, not a watered-down, technically inept one.
Future generations won’t thank us for a quick-fix, save-a-buck “solution” that ultimately won’t do justice to either site.