All but one councillor voted in support of a motion to move ahead with a natural history museum at Gulgong's Red Hill site after a secondary investigation was conducted by council for alternate sites.
Councillor Percy Thompson was the only one to vote against the motion when it came to voting on the project that has caused contention in the community, with some residents railing against the proposed location.
Cr Thompson put forward an amendment for further investigation but without a seconder it lapsed.
"There's a lot of people who want it in Gulgong but don't want it on Red Hill, so I'm really concerned that we're going to lose the $3 million," Cr Thompsons said.
At the August council meeting, results of the community survey about the museum were presented to Council. While the survey indicated strong community support for the museum, there was a proportion of the respondents who had concerns about it being located at Red Hill. Council resolved to conduct further community consultation in response to this and carry out further investigation into alternative sites.
The results showed that 60 per cent of the 277 respondents named Red Hill as the preferred location or stated that they did not recommend any alternate sites to Red Hill.
According to the report. Given the funding agreements already in place, further time taken to negotiate the purchase of a site not owned or managed by Council would add significant delays to the project that would not allow the requirements of the funding agreement to be met. There was concern that when handing down the state budget that the Minns Government would pull funding for the project but it remains in play as long as the project is completed on time.
The report found that Red Hill incorporates a large area, and it is believed that the design process for the building and the area as a whole can accommodate the development of a new building and exhibition space as well as maintaining the integrity of the Gulgong history that has been interpreted on the site.
Cr Peter Shelley summed up the motion and said that Red Hill is - from all aspects - the best location for the museum.
"There's been a lot of community consultation on this issue. Red Hill has proven to be the best place to place this - what will be a fantastic addition to Gulgong - there's no concern about losing the $3 million I think that's a bit of a fallacy," Cr Shelley said.
"I'm looking forward to getting it started."
Council has approved a budget of $4 million for the project, with $3 million coming from the NSW Government's Regional Tourism Activation Fund and $1 million from Council's wallet while it is expected that additional funding will be required as the project continues.
The yet-to-be-revealed exhibition space will 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.