EXCLUSIVE: A LAST minute compromise won’t save the $21 million Newcastle Art Gallery redevelopment from a rescission motion Tuesday night, but the shelved project could remain within reach.
Lord mayor Jeff McCloy told the Newcastle Herald Monday a ‘‘leadership group’’ would continue to work towards the redevelopment and hopefully obtain the missing state government funding.
The working party would be led by NSW Industrial Relations Commission deputy president Rodney Harrison.
Cr McCloy, gallery foundation chairman Robert Henderson and MPs Sharon Grierson and Tim Owen would also participate.
Cr McCloy, who held a long meeting with Dr Henderson this week, said the working party was a ‘‘responsible solution, in the spirit of trying to keep this thing alive’’.
He said the gallery project had been ‘‘very poorly managed’’.
Newcastle Art Gallery's celebrity support
HOLLYWOOD superstar Russell Crowe is the latest celebrity to throw their support behind the Newcastle Art Gallery redevelopment campaign.
Crowe used Twitter to retweet the online petition calling for the art gallery redevelopment to proceed.
More than 2000 people had signed the petition at noon.
Newcastle City Council will debate a motion tonight that proposes that the $21 million redevelopment be abandoned until the council has an operating surplus.
Actress Miranda Otto, her father Barry, sister Gracie, Oscar-winning costume designer Lizzy Gardiner, celebrity photographer Karin Catt, ABC science presenter Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, singer Darren Hayes and actor Sam Worthington are among those who have also signed the petition.
Petition organiser Gionni DiGravio said the support was testament to the depth of feeling about the gallery redevelopment.
‘‘These Hollywood guys stand by us local people in trying to save this redevelopment,’’ he said.
Mr DiGravio urged supporters of the gallery redevelopment to attend tonight’s Newcastle City Council meeting at 5.30pm.
If the redevelopment does not proceed the council will almost certainly lose $7 million in federal government funding.
It also risks losing at least two bequests worth millions of dollars from the Margaret Olley Art Trust and the family of Laverty Pathology’s Colin Laverty.
NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell said yesterday that the state government did not have money to contribute to the project.