For anyone who has either campaigned for or wanted a Performing Arts Centre for Goulburn, there was an overwhelming sense of relief at 3.45pm on Wednesday.
There was excitement. There was a sense of wonder about the possible performances that might be created in or attracted to Goulburn. But mostly relief.
Advocates of a PAC were nervous going into the JRPP hearing, aware that there had already been several stages involved in gaining council approval, before proceeding to the previous hearing which deferred the proposal. And for the hour and 45 minutes leading up to Wednesday’s decision, the outcome never seemed a certainty until it was finally announced.
That alone seemed a long wait, but the wait for a PAC goes back considerably longer than this present proposal. The Lilac Time Hall was sold in 2001 and in the 16 years since, various groups formed, investigated, proposed and advocated for a PAC. For all of those, this was a long-awaited victory.
They say that victory has a thousand fathers (or mothers), and those numbers sound about right in this case. There have been many helpers and elements that got this particular proposal across the line: the political assistance provided; council’s support at staff and councillor level; the JRPP themselves; public support and the support of Goulburn’s performing arts groups.
In fact, anyone actively involved in Goulburn’s performing arts contributed: those who’ve nurtured the skills, established the quality, grown the demand and demonstrated the need. In combination with existing facilities, the PAC will further develop and showcase the skills of our singers, dancers, actors, musicians and performers.
This theatre will sustain Goulburn for decades to come. It isn’t just a minimally sufficient amenity, but a visionary facility that performers and audiences alike will look forward to utilising. For the many nomadic performing arts groups without a venue of their own, you will now have a home.
So it’s a victory in a sense, but that doesn’t mean it’s a defeat for those who opposed the project. Most opponents expressed matters of genuine concern and these were taken into account and embedded into the conditions of the approval. Their voices were heard and listened to. All voices were.
This really is a win for all of Goulburn. Right, let’s get building!