Hills Council to look into area's cultural needs

THE Hills Council has not had a cultural plan since 2010.

The Hills Council's Community Plans for 2010-2015 should have replaced the council's Cultural Plan for Baulkham Hills Shire 2005-2010, and seven public meetings were organised in May 2009 to discuss its inclusions, but to no avail.

Mayor Michelle Byrne said a cultural plan was absorbed into The Hills 2026 Community Direction and overall Hills Shire Plan, which would be considered by the council on April 23 before going on public exhibition.

"It will include the budget for 2013/14 and outline the delivery program for the next four years and will, among other things, include funding to maintain and enhance community and cultural events and activities," Cr Byrne said.

Councillor Ryan Tracey said: "I am for creation of a cultural hub/performance centre for The Hills in lieu of the state government acquisition of The Hills Centre for the construction of Showground Station on the North West Rail Link.

"There has always been a lack of performance space in The Hills; even the refurbished Thompson Hall at Balcombe Heights was not built with a stage."

Cr Tony Hay said a replacement performing arts centre "more suited to the needs of our community" was needed.

Cr Ray Harty suggested creating a music bowl at Heritage Park and re-opening an earlier bipartisan council idea to develop Terminus Street as a "500 to 550 seat performing arts centre, or a mini Federation Square [like that in Melbourne] where people can meet".

A Hornsby Council spokesman said the council was open to discussing a joint arts centre venture with The Hills Council on a shared border.

Cr Byrne said her council would undertake a study to determine the performing arts requirements of people of The Hills.

■ What cultural gaps have you noticed in The Hills? 

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