The $7 million Boosting the Lachlan Valley Economy Art Project is set to transform our region’s tourism landscape. While still only in the early stages of delivery, the project is already having a positive impact on the regional economy with a number of local businesses involved in the construction phase.
The project includes the redevelopment of Gum Swamp reserve, the commissioning of 20 new sculptures to extend the Sculpture Down the Lachlan (SDL) public art trail, and the construction of a new Cultural and Arts Centre.
As part of the Gum Swamp redevelopment, Midpro Engineering in Forbes fabricated the two-storey frames for the new bird hides, before sending off to Cowra’s Central Plate and Gal to be galvanised.
Midpro owner Ian ‘Bart’ Bartholomaeus said, “Our team at Midpro have really enjoyed being involved with this project. We have almost completed all the components for the three new bird hides and are preparing to start the on-site works now that harvest has wrapped up, beginning with the footing foundations.”
Installation of the new hides is anticipated to be complete by March 2021. Outback Soils in Forbes will then carry out the re- remaining work on the walkways, handrails, and concrete seating.
Outback Soils are also working in partnership with landscape architect, Outscape from Grenfell on the landscaping for the Sculpture Down the Lachlan extension and the Albion Park redevelopment. The custom SDL concrete blocks that feature at each site were designed and manufactured by Outback Soils owner, Tim Wood.
Orange-based consultants, Source Architects were engaged earlier this year to re-develop the former Forbes Ambulance Station on the corner of Lachlan and Church Streets into a Cultural and Arts Centre, and construction is due to commence mid-2021.
Director of Source Architects, Sally Sutherland said, “Progress on the design of the Cultural and Arts Centre is well under-way, with plans to be lodged to Forbes Shire Council for Development Application early in the new year.
“The design incorporates a multifunctional room, gallery shop and a 32-seat café on the lower level with additional outdoor dining and a takeaway service. The main gallery and a meeting space will be located on the upper floor.”
Forbes Arts Society Chair, Dr Karen Ritchie said, “Engaging local suppliers and contractors, where possible, is part of our vision to diversify our rural economy, build economic resilience, and grow our Shire’s reputation as a vibrant and thriving place to live, work, visit and invest.”
The ‘Boosting the Lachlan Valley Economy Art Project’ is proudly funded by the NSW Government’s Restart NSW program through the Regional Growth, Environment and Tourism Development Fund, the Forbes Arts Society, Forbes Shire Council, Lachlan Shire Council and Evolution Mining.
The project aims to foster visual arts throughout the Forbes Shire, grow the visitor economy and promote the Lachlan Valley region as a premier tourism destination.