Council Meeting 6 July 2021
2.2 Orange Regional Conservatorium and Planetarium
RECORD NUMBER: 2021/1512
That Orange Council resolve to commence development of The Conservatorium/Planetarium as soon as practically possible.
Council has been working with the Community for the development of the Orange Regional Conservatorium and Planetarium for many years.
The DA for the project was approved by the Western Regional Planning Panel on 13 December 2020. On 31 May 2021 tenders closed for the Detailed Design of the Conservatorium and Planetarium and a report on the tender is scheduled to be tabled the upcoming Council Meeting.
The estimated costs of (conservatively $20 million) has been successful in obtaining a grant from The Federal Government for $10 million.
It is estimated the current site/building could yield several million in the current real estate market.
To date, all attempts to secure State Government funding to make up for the shortfall have not been successful.
Council resolved to include the shortfall in the 2021/22 budget. Council has the ability to exercise alternative revenue-raising measures as Council is in a very strong position to borrow funds at a very low interest rate, or to use consolidated funds to bridge the difference, if required. Attempts will continue to secure State support, as it would be at least 2 years before any amount above $15/16 million would be required.
Work is still underway at the Regional Gallery extension and this would be the ideal time to complete our vision for the Council/cultural precinct.
A report on the Project implementation plan is scheduled for the July 20 Council meeting.
A report to select a preferred Detailed Design consultant is scheduled for July 20 Council meeting.
Discussions are being held with the Federal Government around the funding agreement.
The Old Williams Shed site is close to being completed which provides the requisite parking for the development in line with the consent.
Works will commence in the first quarter of 2022.
The CFO will be reviewing our future loan position now that the 21/22 budget and new borrowings for the Gallery extension and SFR Stage 3 shortfall were approved at the same meeting. Council has the capacity to fund the $5M gap fully from Reserves if the analysis shows there is no capacity for new loans.
POLICY AND GOVERNANCE IMPLICATIONS