Lynne Mowbray |
During the building of the new bridge across the Clarence River at Harwood, residents of the village have banded together to come up with a concept to create a cultural waterside precinct to carry the village of Harwood into the future.
The Biirrinda and Harwood Island Community Committee Inc. intends to build a Community, Cultural, Arts, Heritage and Resource centre on the site of the old Literary Institute, beside the existing hall.
The first stage of the concept is to include a Yaegl Cultural Centre, a historical and cultural exhibition space, meeting rooms, a cafe and a shop.
A community consultation took place at the Harwood Community Hall on Saturday (February 17), with many positive ideas and comments regarding the proposed cultural precinct, being gathered.
Friend of the committee and spokesperson for the group, James Moloney of Tyndale, said that he has been assisting the committee with the planning, governance and formal proposals for the project.
“Although I live at Tyndale, I’ve had a great affection for Harwood as it has been a place I have known and visited regularly over the years,” Mr Moloney said.
“I’ve known many of the committee members for most of my life and I’m happy to support them and bring together their thoughts and great ideas.
“The idea is to open up the area from the new bridge to the sugar mill with the Harwood Hall and War Memorial already in the middle of that area; with the first stage being the community centre which would be a driver for developing the rest of the precinct as well,” he said.
Saturday’s community consultation meeting drew positive comments and reinforcement from within the community.
“I think it was a very constructive meeting and people have raised some good issues about the impact on the village and views on the river bank, which is something that any new development is going to have to address” Mr Maloney said.
“There has also been some good commentary around the ability to access the village; with the new highway scenario around here and how it links in with the wider area around the Lower Clarence.
“So all of that has been constructive and I think there have also been some very positive suggestions and people are very keen on the project and can see the potential for it.
“I think that the meeting has been encouraging and reinforced what we already knew, which is there is a lot of work to do yet.”
Mr Moloney said that following on from Saturday’s meeting; the committee are keen to keep the momentum going.
“Over the next month or two we will be talking to council about whether they are in support of what we are looking to do, and perhaps provide us with some seed funding so that we can develop the plans to a stage where we can apply for big funding.
“I think it’s a tribute to people starting local and thinking big and having a dream and seeing where we can get to.
“I think the more resources that the community has to get together and make its dreams come true, then the better a community we can build,” he said.