Roundhouse plan submitted
There was excitement and relief last Thursday morning as members of the Roundhouse Action Group (RAG) handed over their business plan for Ocean Shore’s controversial Roundhouse site to Byron Shire Council staff.
The group’s co-convenor, Jan Mangleson, said it was a momentous day as RAG had been working hard for the past year to preserve the Roundhouse site from subdivision and sale.
“But we are just the tip of the iceberg,” she said.
“The entire community has entrusted us with the task to save this land and to ensure it is put to use for the community and by the community.”
The business plan sets out a proposal for a cultural centre on the site – a two-level round building on the footprint of the old Roundhouse building, with the upper level planned for a restaurant and coffee shop with ocean and mountain views.
The cultural centre concept also includes a fan-shaped building designed to contain a gallery, with an underground level for a theatre and archival museum – all to the north-west of the site.
A road on the western boundary of the site would provide access for the 21 short-stay holiday accommodation units proposed plus the two residential lots owned by the Ocean Shores Country Club.
The plan provides for open space on one-third of the site, where native flora gardens and seating are planned.
The concept is the work of local architect Jerry Cook, based on a survey conducted by RAG where Ocean Shores and district residents were asked what they would like for the Roundhouse site.
Ms Mangleson said that only 3 per cent of people surveyed were in favour of the site being subdivided into residential lots with the vast majority requesting the site be used for a multi-purpose cultural centre.
“The business plan proposes to council that the development takes place in two stages, with the 21 holiday units and ancillary infrastructure built first,” Ms Mangleson said.
“The plan contains a detailed costing of $2.7 million for stage one, and a finance report indicating funds can be raised from borrowings, with future earnings from the holiday units servicing the loan.
“When this is completed and operational, stage two, which is the cultural centre, will commence. It is hoped the entire project can be completed by 2016,” she said.
RAG is asking the council to permit the formation of a community-based Roundhouse Trust to manage the site. The trust would be responsible for the project, working with council.
Ms Mangleson said RAG had been in contact with a number of government agencies regarding future grants for the project.
“There is money available for cultural and tourism projects.
However RAG cannot pursue these grants, or apply for other funding and donations until the council has made a decision to support the community in what it has asked for: that the site be dedicated for public use as a cultural facility,” she said.