Progress on $7 million art tourism project

The custom SDL concrete blocks that feature at each sculpture site were designed and manufactured by Outback Soils owner, Tim Wood.
The custom SDL concrete blocks that feature at each sculpture site were designed and manufactured by Outback Soils owner, Tim Wood.

It's already been a busy summer for the team working on the $7 million "Boosting the Lachlan Valley Economy Art Project".

Redevelopment of the former Forbes Ambulance Station on the corner of Lachlan and Church streets is on track to commence mid-2021, an update from the Forbes Arts Society reveals.

Sally Sutherland, Director of Source Architects, the Orange-based consultants engaged to develop the former ambulance station, said progress on the design was well underway 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," Ms Sutherland said. "The main gallery and a meeting space will be located on the upper floor."

The Cultural and Arts Centre is one part of a $7 million plan, along with the redevelopment of Gum Swamp reserve and the commissioning of 20 new sculptures to extend the Sculpture Down the Lachlan public art trail.

If you've been out to the sculptures along the Lachlan you'll have seen earthworks and improvements are already taking place, and a number of local businesses have already been involved.

As part of the Gum Swamp redevelopment, Midpro Engineering (Forbes) fabricated the two-storey frames for the new bird hides, before sending off to Cowra's Central Plate and Gal to be galvanised.

"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," Midpro owner Ian 'Bart' Bartholomaeus said.

Installation of the new hides is anticipated to be complete by March 2020. Outback Soils (Forbes) will then carry out the remaining work on the walkways, handrails and concrete seating.

Outback Soils are also working in partnership with landscape architect, Outscape (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.

Forbes Arts Society Chair, Dr Karen Ritchie, said engaging local suppliers and contractors, where possible, was part of the vision as they seek to diversify our economy.

The 'Boosting the Lachlan Valley Economy Art Project' is 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.