Lisa Cox August 01, 2012
Looking for space ... screen printer Leonie Andrews in one of the Megalo studios. File Photo: Elesa Lee
Visual arts group Megalo has dismissed an ACT Greens proposal to convert the Fitters Workshop into a multi-purpose venue.
The Greens have announced a $2.5 million plan for the Kingston Arts precinct that includes a proposal for a purpose-built facility for Megalo.
The election pledge commits $1.3 million for the new building, in addition to the $3.9 million already designated for the visual arts group's relocation to the Kingston Foreshore precinct.
The Greens and the Canberra Liberals have said the historic Fitters Workshop should be retained as a multi-use site, after months of division in Canberra's arts community over the building's future.
But the ACT government will continue to pursue the conversion of the Fitters Workshop for Megalo and the arts group said it wanted to see the ''speedy implementation'' of the government's plan.
Megalo artistic director Alison Alder said the group had waited a long time for a permanent site and the workshop's conversion had been fully costed and planned.
''We're ready to go,'' she said.
''[The Greens proposal] is an unknown, whereas the current plan is concrete.''
But ACT Greens Arts spokeswoman Caroline Le Couteur said the party's proposal was the closest thing to a ''win-win'' for all users of the Kingston Arts precinct.
The proposal also commits $700,000 to upgrade the Fitters Workshop with new lighting, toilets and heating for use as a multi-purpose facility.
''What the ACT Greens have been trying to achieve is to have a win-win for the Canberra community, the arts community and the disparate parts of the visual arts and music community,'' Ms Le Couteur said.
''We're confident that $5 million will build a good building for Megalo that will be a good asset for the Kingston Arts precinct.''
Evidence given to an Assembly inquiry on the future use of the Fitters Workshop suggested a new facility for Megalo could be built for $4.1 million.
Ms Le Couteur said she believed the Greens would be able to negotiate an agreement with either ACT Labor or the Canberra Liberals in a minority government scenario.
''It may not be the Labor Party's No. 1 outcome, but I think it's something they won't find problematic,'' she said.
''I think it is as close to a win-win for everybody.''
But Arts Minister Joy Burch said Megalo opposed the Greens' proposal and for the party to suggest otherwise ''insulted'' the visual arts group.
''I am disappointed that even after Megalo informed the Greens that they did not support the Greens' plan they proceeded to release it today regardless,'' Ms Burch said.
''The Greens have rushed out with an announcement that has upset the people whose livelihoods it will affect, rather than working with Megalo on a plan that was truly a win-win.''
Ms Burch said the government stood by its long-held plan to convert the workshop for Megalo, using funding that had been allocated in 2011-12.
The Greens also said yesterday they would recommence consultation on a master plan for the Kingston Arts precinct.