LOTS TO DO: Orange Regional Museum Fund chair Russell Tym says he would have preferred to see the museum opened before October. Photo: JUDE KEOGH
ORANGE Visitor Information Centre and cafe is expected tobe opened to the public in mid-July, although Orange Regional Museum’s first exhibition will not occur until October, which has frustrated key supporters.
At an Orange City Council meeting earlier this month, councillor Russell Turner asked when some activity would occur inside the building after the exterior’s completion in April.
“There’s no sign of life,” he said.
Community services director Scott Maunder told councillors the tender to manufacture some of the interior features had been awarded and the lead time was four to five weeks.
“We’re expecting to see a but more happening and open it by mid-July,” he said.
“It’s taken longer than we anticipated but we are working through it and expecting that opening to occur.”
However, Orange Regional Museum Fund chairman Russell Tym said no funds for the museum fitout or staffing had been allocated until the 2016-17 financial year, meaning money was unavailable in the meantime.
“But I also understand they didn’t know how long construction would last and they formed the budget in March or April last year and they probably weren’t thinking about the staffing at that stage,” he said.
“There’s a substantial allocation in the 2016-17 budget but assuming you change the exhibit every six months, the cost is substantial.”
Mr Tym said the July 10 opening would allow people to walk through the building with a limited display.
“I would have certainly liked it to be done quicker but I’m not too bothered by it as long as we get to the final result,” he said.
Council spokesman Nick Redmond said the councilapproved the funding for the construction andfitout in 2014 and the resourcing of the museum hadalways been adequate to deliver the museum program.
“As we move from construction to the operation phase, the museum has seen an increase in operational funding to reflect the costs to operate the facility,” he said.
“Part of the justification of getting this project off the ground was a commitment from those backing it that they would raise funds. It’s hoped they remain committed to that goal.”
The museum’s October 1 opening date is subject to confirmation from the federal government.
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