Plan for new music hub

By Deniliquin Pastoral Times

Investigations into building a new home for the South West Music Regional Conservatorium in Deniliquin have started.

South West Music director Damien Johnson said planning is in the ‘‘very early stages’’.

Edward River Council is contributing $10,000 for concept plans

Mr Johnson said as the proposal is very new, little is known what the new facility will look like or where it would be located.

But it would need to be large enough to cater to South West Music’s 700 students — including 200 individual enrolments, ensembles and the choir and off-site school-based programs throughout the year.

South West Music currently operates from rooms behind the Hardinge St Roadhouse owned and operated by Purtills.

It moved from George St in 2014 because it provided more space for lessons and special events.

Mr Johnson said Purtills had indicated it would need the space in the future.

‘‘I would suggest we are looking at a five year timeframe, because we are only just getting started,’’ Mr Johnson said.

‘‘Our aim is to provide improved delivery of music education — that’s what our strategic plan sets out.

‘‘We need the best facilities to deliver the best programs. Deniliquin needs a conservatorium.’’

Council general manager Adam McSwain, in a report to the December council meeting, said to begin discussions with funding bodies about the development, South West Music must complete concept plans and costings.

His recommendation to provide $10,000 toward the project was approved by councillors.

‘‘Previous experience with other projects suggests that completing concept designs and a quantity surveyor’s estimate for a project can be in the range of $15,000 to $20,000,’’ Mr McSwain said in his report.

He suggested Stronger Communities funding from the council merger could be used.

‘‘South West Music plays an important role in Deniliquin and the region. Having the conservatorium based in Deniliquin provides positive social and economic benefits and builds on Deniliquin’s strength as a regional location.’’

Council left $500,000 from the merger fund as a contingency or for future projects.

Mr McSwain said from council’s initial $10 million total allocation for the fund, another $700,000 in accrued interest has been earned.

Some projects have been earmarked for the additional money, but are not yet finalised. This includes $300,000 for Peppin Heritage Centre upgrades and $650,000 for additional road and drainage upgrades.