The Warrnambool Art Gallery (the WAG) has outgrown its building.
It cannot deliver its objectives to the standard of a typical regional gallery in Victoria. Warrnambool City Council is considering options to address this which involve a new gallery building on either the existing site or a new site at Cannon Hill.
Council is seeking community involvement in the discussion about which option to progress through to a business case.
There is a public forum on Tuesday July 5, from 7pm to 8.30pm where the public can share views on the site options.
In addition there is an online survey below which will remain open until 5pm, Thursday, July 7.
The project involves a three-phase approach.
Phase 1 - Feasibility study, 2021
This phase developed the scope and functionality needed in a new Gallery and identified two possible locations for a new Gallery. These were
- a new building on the existing WAG site or
- a new building at Cannon Hill.
Concept plans were developed for both options to enable an assessment of their feasibility.
Please note that the concept plans are not the final plans for either option.
The estimated build cost for both options at the time of the feasibility study was between $40 and $41.5 million.
Council is clear that this funding will need to be obtained from non-Council sources if either of the two options is to proceed.
Phase 2 – Identification of preferred site, current phase
Council is seeking community involvement in the discussion about which site to progress through to a business case.
Phase 3 – Business case, next
This phase will see the preparation of a detailed business case for a new gallery on the preferred site.
This phase will include developing a detailed design incorporating community and stakeholder feedback.
The business case will include the preparation of a prospectus to support private sector fundraising.
The Business Case is funded by the Victorian Government Regional Development Victoria Investment Fast Track Fund with Council and philanthropic support.
Background on the two options
Option 1 – new building on existing WAG site
The Feasibility Study identified that the best outcome on this site would be created by demolishing the existing building and constructing a purpose-designed building.
- To get the floor area required a gallery on this site would need to be multi-level. Multi-level galleries are more expensive and problematic for operations, with a heavy reliance on service lifts and additional space having to be allocated for stairs. Building multiple levels is also more expensive to construct and operate.
- The concept studies have assumed that a new building will not encroach on the Civic Green. (The Civic Green space would be required during construction).
- The concept assumes that the Council-held car parking site to the east can be utilised for the redevelopment.
- The location is in the central business area and within the Cultural precinct adjacent to the Lighthouse Theatre, Warrnambool Library and SW TAFE.
- The Gallery will need to close during construction.
Concept plans - new build on existing WAG site
Option 2 - new building on Cannon Hill
The Cannon Hill site is accessed from Merri Street and Artillery Crescent. As Crown Land, the current responsibility for the site rests with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP). The DELWP has a management agreement with the Warrnambool City Council for the day-to-day management of the open space, visitor facilities and monuments.
The site includes:
- the Portuguese explorers memorial;
- a bluestone-walled shelter;
- Artillery Crescent provides 52 car parking spaces; and,
- A pedestrian path connecting Liebig St to Pertobe Road.
- the site offers an outstanding vantage point for views of Lake Pertobe, the headland and the coastline;
- the site provides a point of difference from all other regional galleries in Victoria that do not offer such a position or view;
- the concept can be single level;
- the site connects with Flagstaff Hill and Lake Pertobe;
- the site would be less expensive to build on; and,
- the existing Gallery can remain open during construction and the Civic Green will not be impacted.
Concept plans - new building on Cannon Hill
To have your say on each of the proposed sites, please complete the survey below.