A natural history museum set to be built in Gulgong has seen a delay of sorts after a 6-3 majority of councillors voted to conduct further community consultation about its planned location at Red Hill.
A survey conducted by Mid-Western Regional Council showed that 82.4 per cent of Gulgong locals were in favour of building the museum at the historic Red Hill. However a small group of vocal opponents of that plan has led to a move to go back to the community for further feedback.
Councillor Paul Cavalier put forward the motion at the August 16 meeting, citing social media feedback as the reason for canvasing the community again.
"This matter has obviously been the subject of a considerable amount of interest in the community, and I will start by saying I'm quite disappointed with some of the accusations that have been thrown around...," Cr Cavalier said.
"We need to weigh up the concerns of the community of Gulgong and those that have been raised and the opportunity to invest millions of dollars into the Gulgong community.
"We are in the situation in Gulgong where we've got the opportunity to spend quite a lot of money... which is not something that happens often and it would be quite a shame for us to lose that opportunity.
"Unfortunately the reality is, at this point given the work we've done so far, if we proceed and move forward with our proposed construction of the museum at Red Hill - at the moment - the DA is likely to be the subject of a considerable number of objections which might potentially hold us the process and significantly increase the risk to the funding that's been provided for the project
Despite there being quite a number of merits in moy opinion of locating the museum at the Red Hill site because iI think it can work really well with what already exists there and I think we are very limited as to what sites are available to the community in Gulgong."
Coordinator of the Gulgong Gold Experience at Red Hill, Joy Harrison disagrees and said Red Hill is the obvious choice for the museum.
"If they out it out at People's Park then the other museums will shoot themselves in the foot," she said.
"Because people will get on their GPS from Sydney, go straight out to People's Park which is way out of town and they'll come back the same way and go home
"They won't even come to Mayne Street because you can't park... I mean, they're just wasting their time putting it out there [People's Park]."
Mayor Des Kennedy, who was opposed to the move to consult further argued that the delay could put the entire project in jeopardy.
"I mean, 82.4 per cent is a pretty good result. The nex time you go out it'll be similar and the same people will want it there - you're never going to keep anybody happy," Cr Kennedy said.
"When it was first spoken about - when Minister Dugald Saunders came - part of the whole thing was about the history aspect. From a commercial value this joint has got to pay its way. So from a commercial value where you've already got some sort of attraction there close to the main street - it all stacked up from a business angle.
"I'm dead set afraid that if we go back out there, we're going to get a similar [result] and sit on the fence again and sit around here and by then - I know the present government are pulling the plug on funding and we need to get this rolling."
Concerns were raised by community members and Cr Percy Thompson about the suitability of the site that they say makes the location not ideal and instead suggested People's Park in Gulgong as a more suitable location.
Once the project is complete, Gulgong would play host to an impressive fossil collection that will be housed in the museum after $3 million was announced by the NSW Government in February.
The yet-to-be-revealed exhibition space is set display 'Michael Durrant's Wonderful World of Fossils Collection', which includes an extensive fossil display, full-size Dinosaur display, and 200-million-year-old Dinosaur Prints and rare bat fossils.
The project must be completed by June 2026 for the funding to be secured.