Opposition to relocate Warrnambool's art gallery to Cannon Hill is growing with more than 1000 people signing petitions.
Businessman Brian Guyett, who labelled the move ridiculous, said he was surprised with how many people were unaware of the plan to move the gallery which would result in the loss of the popular parking spot.
Mr Guyett also raised concerns preliminary plans meant the Vietnam Veterans memorial would have to be moved to make way for a scaled back car park located further down the hill.
"If you know someone on the train you can wave to them because that's where the car park's planned," Mr Guyett said.
"The Vietnam Veterans memorial, I think that's got to be moved."
The online petition already has more than 950 signatures and Mr Guyett said one of the paper petitions had already attracted another 200.
Councillors earlier this month went against officers' recommendations and voted 4-3 to do a business case for a new art gallery at Cannon Hill.
The new facility is expected to cost about $40 million, and the business case more than $100,000. But councillors pointed out at the August meeting nothing was set in stone.
Mayor Vicki Jellie said at the August meeting that the business case wasn't saying the gallery was definitely going to be built at Cannon Hill. "Council doesn't have to commit to an outcome," she said.
But Cr Richard Ziegeler predicted Cannon Hill would "probably be fairly heavily opposed by a fair proportion of the community".
"Cannon Hill's open spaces are too precious to lose," he said.
Mr Guyett spoke to some of those parked along Cannon Hill on Friday who were there to enjoy the view - something they said they did regularly.
Beth Clarke, who was doing her knitting in the car, said she parked at Cannon Hill a few times a month to take in the views and would be sad to see it go.
"It's just so lovely to sit here," she said.
"It would be a shame to see a huge big building put on it.
"The gallery's got walls with paintings all around it. The gallery is not here for the view, it's the people who want to come and sit here and look to the sea. It's a very popular spot I would think for tourists.
"The ground that's there is open as parklands. You don't have to go sit on it and have picnics on it to appreciate it do you?"
Former mayor David Atkinson said he liked to park at Cannon Hill every Sunday to eat his lunch and didn't want to see it make way for a gallery.
"I'm a bit upset about it," he said.
"I just don't think it would be appropriate to build on it.
"There must be a good reason why this has been left the way it has for the last 150 years and then to just decide to do an art gallery which has an outside view, most art galleries have an inside view."
Mr Atkinson said the council would have to get permission to build the gallery on Crown Land which "could be difficult to do".
"I'm not opposed to an art gallery, that's essential in any city. It's the same as a swimming pool or a sports ground, it's a must. It's the location I'm totally opposed to," he said.
"There's a lot of arts stuff that has been stored away because they've got no where to put it.
"I agree there has to be some change to the art gallery but why not keep it down there and use the car park next to it."
Mr Atkinson said it was unusual to go against an officer's recommendation.
"It did happen in my time too but there has to be a good reason for that and I haven't heard the reason," he said.
Cr Jellie said that there had been a lot of interest in council's decision to investigate, through a business case, the suitability of Cannon Hill as a potential site for a new Warrnambool Art Gallery building.
"Along with this interest there has been some misinformation circulating through social media," she said.
"To be clear, council has not committed to Cannon Hill as a site for a new art gallery.
"And at this stage we have not committed to constructing a new gallery building."
But she said the council was obviously interested in exploring the potential of an upgraded gallery and the social, cultural and economic benefits it could deliver.
"What council has decided on is a business case, nothing more," Cr Jellie said.
She said there had been two well-advertised rounds of community consultation about a potential location for a possible new gallery building.
The first round of consultation undertaken in 2021 - a survey and stakeholder discussions - indicated a marginal preference for Cannon Hill.
The more recent consultation undertaken at the Lighthouse Studio indicated a preference for the existing Civic Green site - largely because of concerns about building on Cannon Hill and the potential loss of amenity.
She said other important feedback councillors received was that the Project Control Group, which includes members of the Maar Nation Gallery Steering Committee, was open to exploring the Cannon Hill site through the business case.
That's the information council had at its August meeting when it considered which site should be made the subject of a business case.
The business case is largely funded by Regional Development Victoria with contributions from the council and the philanthropic sector.
"Given the closeness of the feedback and the preference of the project control group, council, in a split decision, adopted a motion to have Cannon Hill assessed," Cr Jellie said.
"It may be that Cannon Hill is ruled out because of the findings of the business case.
"Cannon Hill might also be ruled out because there is an overwhelming community response against building there.
"We have yet to make a final decision."
The council is yet to received any requests to not proceed with the business case.
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