Conservatorium location and regional library need a re-think

The announcement of an upgrade to the Central Coast Conservatorium (edition 217) is welcome news, although the details of the proposal are vague, and the drawing of what is, presumably, the new facade of the building is uninformative.
The present building is historically interesting, and it is not clear how the somewhat overbearing new entrance will be integrated with the original building, but I take it that the Conservatorium management is satisfied that the results will be satisfactory.
However, if this small renovation is seen as locking in the location of the Conservatorium to the fundamentally unsuitable site that it now occupies, there should, perhaps, be further consideration of the project.
Ms Braund seems to be assuming that, following these improvements, the chimerical concert hall will automatically be located on an extension of the site, even though the position is topographically unsuitable and access to it is miserably poor, particularly for anybody elderly or handicapped.
The location of any concert hall is a vexed issue.
I have pointed out, on several occasions, that Gosford is far from the population centre of the city, that access to it is difficult for a large percentage of residents, and that Gosford’s future should focus on the promotion of a high-density residential precinct, oriented to the railway station and the lake.
A concert hall is not a natural adjunct to a precinct of this kind and neither, incidentally, is a Conservatorium, that would be better located in conjunction with a university campus at Ourimbah.
As far as I know, there is no business plan for a concert hall, no suggestion of the potential patron pool and no analysis of where these patrons live and how they will access such a facility.
Yet, one would have thought that this kind of study was a prerequisite for committing $30M of public money, even if this estimate is not subject to the usual “revision” that inevitably accompanies such flimsily thought through proposals.
Something of the same can be said for the regional library proposition.
The idea of a monumental central library is technologically obsolete and socially irrelevant, at a time when the priority should be for a network of linked community libraries, each closely associated with a customer base.
It is difficult to imagine any use of a regional library that could not be better satisfied through online access to information repositories and on-demand material delivery services.
If libraries are to remain a recreational and educational resource for future generations, they must become familiar landmarks in daily life.
Yet, I venture to say that the vast majority of young adults couldn’t locate their local library now, and the idea of some isolated edifice in Gosford providing a realistic regional service to the social media oriented generation is ridiculous.
While I rarely agree with Mr Adam Crouch, his characterisation of the Council as “in chaos” seems to resonate with a significant proportion of ratepayers.
It would have been encouraging if the new Mayor had shown any signs of grasping the city’s priorities, but her two main concerns are the next election (i.e. keeping her seat) and holding out the begging bowl to state and federal governments.
Not a good look to the start of her term.

Email, Oct 6
Bruce Hyland, Woy Woy

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