Despite inclement weather, construction of the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre, new Katoomba Library and Coles Retail Development is progressing at an impressive rate.
Mayor, Cr Daniel Myles, said, “The development is really gaining momentum which is very pleasing indeed”.
Only eight months into the construction, contractor Richard Crookes Constructions, has commenced work on the Centre’s podium level on which the cultural facilities are to be built.
“At street level, scaffolding works are progressing in College Lane for work to commence on the brickwork facade”, said the Mayor.
In line with the construction progress, Blue Mountains City Council has called for tenders for the fit-out of the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre and Katoomba Library.
“The fit-out involves the supply, construction and installation of the respective fit-out components for the interior of these facilities”, explained Cr Terri Hamilton, Chairperson of the Katoomba Library Technical Advisory Panel.
“It goes without saying that the fit out is a critically important and exciting part of this significant project.”
“The design concept for the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre and Katoomba Library will ensure it has a strong presence as a significant civic and public place within the Blue Mountains”, said Cr Hamilton.
Tenders close at 2pm Wednesday 21 September 2011.
A partnership between Blue Mountains City Council, the State Government and Coles Group Property Development, the overall development involves the construction of the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre and the new Katoomba Library on the podium level above a full-line Coles supermarket, specialty retail area and two levels of basement car parking on the lower levels.
Completion is expected to be in mid 2012.
With the construction of the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre well underway, the Mayor, Cr Daniel Myles, has announced the appointment of its new Director.
“I have great pleasure in announcing the appointment of Paul Brinkman to the position of Blue Mountains Cultural Centre Director, “said the Mayor.
Paul is the former Director of Cairns Regional Gallery, the largest regional gallery in Far North Queensland, which is recognised as one of Queensland’s most entrepreneurial regional galleries.
Paul has worked in art education fields throughout regional South Australia, Queensland and Japan. Combining a career as a visual artist with teaching led Paul to specialising in senior art administration within public galleries.
The Mayor, who is also the Chairperson of the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre and Katoomba Library Advisory Committee, added, “Paul brings with him an extensive knowledge and experience in contemporary Australian visual arts. Paul has demonstrated a passion and commitment to engage and educate the wider community in the realm of culture and the arts.”
Paul has developed and introduced many exhibitions and programs to regional and remote Australia and recently coordinated a successful major international touring exhibition titled Malu Minar: Art of the Torres Strait.
“Paul will commence his new position in late August and will play a crucial role in the completion of the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre and its much anticipated opening in mid 2012”, the Mayor said.
Mr Brinkman said, “I am delighted to be given this opportunity to contribute to the cultural development and experiences of the Blue Mountains.”
I am looking forward to the challenges ahead and of living and working in this vibrant region. Within the arts and cultural field in Australia, this project has a real sense of anticipation, which is a great foundation for establishing national partnerships and making the centre a key cultural destination“, he said.
Katoomba Library Technical Advisory Panel Chairperson, Cr Terri Hamilton, welcomed Paul’s appointment.
“We are very fortunate to have such a creative and experienced new Director. I look forward very much to working together to realise the potential of the Cultural Centre, which will be a vital cultural and educational facility for the Blue Mountains community and the wider region”, said Cr Hamilton.
Photo: BMCC General Manager, Robert Greenwood welcomes newly appointed Director of the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre, Paul Brinkman, on site of the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre, new Katoomba Library and retail development in Parke St Katoomba.
The Blue Mountains Sustainable Precinct project received a positive report card during a recent visit from the Australian Government Green Precincts Fund departmental representatives.
Blue Mountains City Council received $1.5 million funding for their Blue Mountains Sustainable Precinct project, to incorporate solar power and water re-use systems at Echo Point, the new Katoomba Civic Centre and the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre, to reduce energy and water use.
Mayor, Cr Daniel Myles, explained, “The Blue Mountains Sustainable Precinct is one of only 13 Green Precincts projects in Australia and is the largest in scale.”
The first of the Green Precinct project initiatives was the installation of a solar power system on the roof of the Echo Point Visitor Information Centre. In addition, Council installed an impressive stormwater harvesting (the capture and reuse of urban storm water) system at Echo Point, one of the most used public amenities in Australia.
The Katoomba Civic Centre, redeveloped last year, is also sporting new solar panels on its roof and incorporates a 90,000 litre water tank to capture the rain water for reuse to flush the toilets. The solar panels and the tank are the first of a range of state of the art water and energy conservation measures to be incorporated in the Civic Centre and Blue Mountains Cultural Centre sites.
“The Council expects to reduce energy use by almost 2 million kilowatt-hours a year by introducing these, and other, energy efficiency measures”, said the Mayor.
The Blue Mountains Cultural Centre, which is currently under construction, will also include sustainable design features of a ‘green’ roof that treats a portion of the Cultural Centre’s runoff. A 50,000 litre water tank will also be installed including a pump, filtration and UV disinfection system to treat collected water before reuse for toilet flushing and irrigation of the green roof and landscaping.
The Mayor explained that over 14 million litres a year will be saved from the three project sites within the Blue Mountains Sustainable precinct, with the use of new water harvesting and water purification technology and water-sensitive landscaping.
The construction of the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre, new Katoomba Library and retail development is progressing well with the bulk excavation nearing completion and the next step of pouring of the suspended slab, about to commence
The construction site has been a hive of activity in recent weeks with excavation work, rock anchoring, sewer and water main deviation and high voltage relocation, formwork and stormwater drainage.
The construction, being undertaken by contractor, Richard Crookes Constructions Pty Ltd., is currently in the sixth of its twenty-month delivery program.
Mayor, Cr Myles, said, “It is very pleasing to see the progress made on this important development.”
The total development involves the construction of the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre and the new Katoomba Library on the podium level, and a supermarket, retail area and car park on the lower levels.
The completion of the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre and the broader Parke St development, including the new Katoomba Library, is expected to be in mid 2012.
The Mayor said, “The Blue Mountains Cultural Centre will be a vital cultural and educational facility for the Blue Mountains community and the wider region, featuring the City’s Regional Art Gallery and a state of the art World Heritage Interpretive Centre.
“It will be complimented by the new and improved Katoomba Library that will provide modern library services to the upper mountains communities.”
“This site will also form part of the Blue Mountains Sustainable Precinct, one of only 13 Green Precincts projects funded by the Australian Government.”
Photo: Work in progress – Aerial photo of the construction site for the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre, new Katoomba Library and retail development in Parke St Katoomba.
Accomplished Katoomba-based artist, Ken Yonetani, has been awarded the commission to design and install the public artwork to adorn the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre and new Katoomba Library.
Mayor, Cr Daniel Myles, said, “Breathing Tree, the artwork proposal by Ken Yonetani, is to become a wonderful entrance feature for the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre.”
The artwork, a ten metre long eucalyptus leaf, is composed of thousands of hand-made ceramic pieces which will be attached to the external wall of the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre, which is currently under construction in Parke St Katoomba.
The design is inspired by micro images of eucalyptus leaves from trees in the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area National Park. The electron microscope images reveal the stomata, or breathing holes, of the leaves.
“The work reveals the hidden process of photosynthesis and respiration of plant life to the naked human eye, asking us to once again begin a lost conversation with trees as living and breathing spirits,” explains Ken.
Ken Yonetani was born in 1971 in Tokyo, Japan. He now lives and works in Katoomba, New South Wales. While in Japan, he was an assistant to pottery master, Toshio Kinjo, the oldest son of Jiro Kinjo, National Living Treasure of Japan. Since completing a Master’s degree at The Australian National University School of Art in 2005, he has held numerous solo and group exhibitions, including selection for the Australian contingent at The 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009.
The commission of Breathing Tree by Blue Mountains City Council is curated and managed by Brecknock Consulting in association with locally based consultant, Ric McConaghy. The installation of the artwork is expected to take place towards the completion of the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre in mid 2012.
Ken’s Breathing Tree micro images were acquired using electron-microscopic technology from the Australian Microscopy & Microanalysis Research Facility at the University of Sydney.