Letters to the editor

April 13, 2018

An artist's impression of the new Shepparton Arts Museum.

Art at what cost?

- John Starritt, Shepparton

Despite the possibility of being classed as a Philistine, I have serious concerns about the financing of the new art gallery and the year-to-year cost of running it in the future.

This project could be a great thing for Shepparton, but we have already seen a blowout in the costs of $5 million and the tenders are yet to come in.

My concern is, what guarantee is in place to ensure that once this has started, there are not going to be more unforeseen cost over-runs that usually occur with constructions of this magnitude?

The current SAM costs ratepayers $1.03 million per year to run, so it is likely that given the size of this new one it could be $2 million to $3 million to run each year.

Does the council or the gallery committee have any idea what the cost to ratepayers on an ongoing basis is going to be?

I am concerned that this has the potential to become a millstone around the necks of ratepayers for years to come at the expense of other worthy projects, such as revitalisation of the central business district.

According to our chief executive, to abolish parking meters would result in a nett deficit to ratepayers of $271000.

A small price to pay, I would have thought, to help retailers.

I am not against the art gallery project, I just want some assurance this is not going to be a burden to ratepayers for years to come.

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