A large CBD space is still on the agenda for a community centre, despite the council searching for other options.
Councillors at their most recent meeting considered a report on the possible purchase of the former Crazy Clark’s building at 152-156 Auburn Street, opposite the McDermott Centre. The matter was discussed in closed session due to “confidential commercial information.”
But general manager Warwick Bennett said on Thursday that councillors deferred a decision and asked for other options to be explored. These would consider the available space and value for money.
The council is scouting for a community centre to house services currently in the McDermott Centre. Groups and services are being moved out of this building ahead of its transformation into a performing arts centre. The council has leased a large space in the former Huntly Arcade for $140,000 per annum in the interim. But longer term it wants to buy a building to give surety.
Mr Bennett said $4 million had been allocated in the 2018/19 budget for purchase, redevelopment and fit-out of a space.
“The advantage of the (Crazy Clark’s building) is that it’s in the CBD, close to public transport, could provide access through to Cartwright Place and would be council owned,” he said.
The former discount shop was proposed as a link, complete with laneway and stores lining its sides, in the draft CBD master plan completed this year. The lane could have linked to parking spaces on Cartwright Place, providing access to Auburn Street and the performing arts centre.
Mr Bennett said this was likely a long way down the track as the council explored various plans and options.
He expected a report on investigations into possible community centre venues to come back to the June meeting.
Mr Bennett confirmed that U3A and the Gem Society would not be accommodated in any new building and the council was looking for suitable homes for the group.
Both are operating temporarily out of the council’s former Bourke Street depot. However, the council plans to sell the depot as part of consolidation of its works department. A new depot has been constructed at Hetherington Street for this purpose.
U3A secretary Pat Spilsbury said her group was worried about the future.
“First we were told we’d have to move out at the end of third term (September) and then we were told by the end of the year,” she said.
“There’s so much room at the depot that we’d like to stay there permanently.”
Mrs Spilsbury said the space was ideal because it was on a bus route and had ample off-street parking.
U3A investigated a move to Workspace 2580 but found it could not afford the rent.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty because we had to buy a lot of furniture when we moved to the depot, which put us to quite a bit of expense. I don’t know where we’d even store that,” Mrs Spilsbury said.
“Unless we can find somewhere to move, we may have to sell up.”
U3A Goulburn runs some 40 courses across a week and has 200 enrolments. It cannot hold classes involving people with disabilities at the depot due to the lack of disabled amenities. Instead, these are held at the Goulburn Workers Club.
Mrs Spilsbury said the group would like to be included in any council-owned community centre.
“We need to know by the end of the year because we have to plan a term ahead,” she said.
“We need a permanent place as a lot of our courses require specialist equipment.”
She told The Post she also felt sorry for the Gem Society which had also settled into the old depot.