Some of you might be aware that this past weekend played host to a public forum to discuss options for the redevelopment of QEII Square.
With the opening of the current library museum and subsequent demolition of the old library building and planned demolition of the administrative part of St Matthew’s Anglican Church due to take place early next year, the time is clearly right for public discussion on the future of the site.
I had a chuckle to myself when one suggestion came forth to put the PS Cumberoona there.
I’ll be generous and assume the individual had been drinking, I know in the past I’ve waken the next day aghast at something I had said the previous evening.
As I see it, the problems with the current QE2 Square (apart from the name which smacks of a cringe-worthy sycophantic outburst from pig-iron Bob Menzies “I did but see her passing by…”) are that it’s unsafe after dark, it’s style has dated and it does little to enhance the focus of ourCBD.
Recent incidents have highlighted that QE2 square can be an unsafe place even in daylight hours, it’s space pedestrian traffic and virtual labyrinth of alleys provide ample cover for all manner of anti-social activity.
Dumping a dirty great paddle steamer in the middle of the space would compound this exponentially.
As I see it, there is already a clear theme established for the site, it is bordered by the Murray music conservatorium, the Regional art-gallery, the performing arts centre and the conference centre.
Clearly, it is Albury’s cultural events hub.
I’d suggest that judicious use of public moneys to create a space in which the public can interact with a public arts project is the best way forward.
Such a project would need to be well lit, provide ample physical access to retain the space as a thoroughfare, be an iconic (and maintenance free) landmark for the city of Albury as well as highlighting the diversity of cultural and artistic talent in the region.
Not that I’d suggest a direct copy, but one place which has gotten this right, is Adelaide’s festival theatre.
A space which could easily become a place of congregation for undesirables, has instead been transformed into an iconic feature in which people, art and nature can interact.
Surely a lot nicer (and more practical) than a manky old boat.