Future Bunker Plans: Calling for your Support and Comments

When Council decided that the Cultural Centre for the city would be in the CBD and not City Hill, the Bunker Board was faced with the challenge of continuing to operate as a stand-alone facility with no future flow-on traffic from surrounding cultural buildings. We are further challenged as the Bunker leaks badly during heavy rain and is expensive to maintain.

Our proposed solution is to build a new gallery on a self-supporting platform above the existing bunker, which will act like a big umbrella. The new building will look like a modern version of a WW11 Nissen Hut, to reflect the design and purpose of the original bunker. This would double the size of the gallery, give us room for a café and, as a highly visible building, be likely to attract more drop-in visitors.

The second part of the solution is to create a permanent educational exhibition in the upper gallery destined to become a must-see attraction for both locals and tourists. Our vision is for this exhibition is to trace Australian history from 1900 to today as viewed through the eyes of the cartoonists at the time. This would be a high-tech, multi-media exhibition and we have already attracted offers of support from a number of well-connected individuals.

We would continue to show various cartoon exhibitions in the current gallery, much as we do today. This extended and far more visible gallery, plus a spectacular and unique historical exhibition, will significantly increase numbers of visitors to the gallery and will be a popular tourist attraction.

We are asking Council to provide us with funds to prepare a Development Application for the expanded gallery and to prepare a small sample exhibition showing what the Historic Exhibition would look like. The figure involved is $180,000. Once we have an approved Development Application and the project is ‘shovel ready’ we can apply for grants from State and Federal Governments and other bodies to fund the construction. Council is NOT being asked to fund any of the construction.

Of course, we need to show there is community support for this plan. If you like this idea, please send us an email stating that you support our plans for an expanded gallery and a historic exhibition. This is really important for the future of the Bunker; without evidence of community support, it will be far more difficult for Coffs Harbour Councillors to agree to give support and to allocate the $180,000 necessary to get the project underway.

Please send your email to office@bunkercartoongallery.com.au

Plans for the expanded gallery are on show in the Bunker if you would like to call in and view them and make your comments in person. To discuss further, please call 02 6651 7343 during our opening hours and make a time to meet with one of our Board members.

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