Centre costing thousands to sit empty

Advocate, LIBBY BINGHAM, p.7 – 18 June 2014

THE future of Devonport’s Tiagarra Museum and Cultural Centre has reached another critical point after attempted break-ins. Tiagarra has been left to sit vacant at Bluff beach since it was closed 17 months ago due to operational losses.
Despite being shut, the Devonport City Council- owned building is costing ratepayers $30,000 a year to maintain and was recently damaged as a result of two would-be break-ins.
Devonport City Council executive manager community services Evonne Ewins confirmed there were attempted break-ins over consecutive nights in late April and at the same time a fire was started at the Bluff toilets.
Mrs Ewins said there was only minor lock damage for the council to repair.
“We don’t believe they entered the building and were deterred by the security system which is place,” Mrs Ewins said.
More talks about Tiagarra’s future are being held between the council and Six Rivers Aboriginal Corporation this week.
Recently Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre state secretary Ruth Langford highlighted in a media report that the number one request international tourists to Australia make is to have an indigenous experience, and when they come to Tasmania to have a wilderness experience.
Ms Langford said developing Aboriginal tourism experiences would be a win-win for Tasmania’s tourism industry and the state’s indigenous community.
A notion which is shared by the council which has been keen to determine Tiagarra’s future in close partnership with SRAC.
“The council wants to work with SRAC to reopen Tiagarra,” Mrs Ewins said.
In January a committee was formed to determine interest in developing a sustainable business model for Tiagarra.
Chairwoman Alderman Annette Rockliff said then that the group brought together for the first time the right kind of expertise to reopen Tiagarra and attract required funding.
Ald Rockliff said it was hurting Devonport’s tourism reputation if visitors were arriving when Tiagarra was shut.
The centre is faced with issues of ageing infrastructure and the question of who is going to run it after SRAC said it was not in a position to at this stage.
The council owns the building and leases it to SRAC, with the lease due to run out next year.