It would be better to spend money on homelessness and mental health rather than a new art gallery at Cannon Hill, a submission to the city council signed by 151 Warrnambool residents says.
With the business case on a possible new art gallery at the site still under investigation, construction of a new building - wherever council decides to build it - could be a long way off if Hamilton's example is anything to go by.
Southern Grampians Shire's draft budget for next financial year includes $3.5 million for detailed designs for Hamilton's proposed new art gallery which is expected to cost $50 million.
Shire mayor David Robertson said a new Hamilton art gallery was first mooted in 2011, and its business case carried out in 2017-18.
"We've done the planning and now it's being designed," he said. "It's been a long drawn out process. Now we're getting somewhere.
"Warrnambool has a fair bit of work in front of them."
Warrnambool mayor Debbie Arnott said the future of the city's gallery was still under investigation. Councillors had previously been briefed on the business case and had asked for more information - which has now come back - but the details are yet to be made public.
Jim Williams, who helped write the new submission to the council with Kate Hamilton, said that rather than just air concerns online, they wanted to make an impact by putting something in writing.
The letter "humbly beseeches" the council to consider their "heartfelt concerns" which they list in seven bullet points.
"As a group we are not opposed to a new art gallery, just not at Cannon Hill," the submission says.
It says Cannon Hill was set aside as a public reserve and war memorial, and should not be regarded as vacant land.
"Does it make sense to be spending $40 million or more on this project at the time?" it says.
"Wouldn't it be better to put ... money and resources into homelessness, mental health and community reserves?"
While a new art gallery is a controversial topic in Warrnambool, Cr Robertson said there was a lot of support in Hamilton for a new gallery which would be built on its current site after plans to move it closer to the lake were ruled out.
He said the new gallery's display area would be four times larger, and it would move to a temporary location during demolition and construction.
Conceptual and architectural drawings are expected to be completed by October next year when they will seek funding from philanthropic trusts, the community, council and governments.
"It won't be a shed, it won't be a Sydney Opera House. It will be something which is appropriate to house probably the most significant collection in regional Australia," Cr Robertson said.
He said while Warrnambool's art gallery could be 10 years away, they hoped to start construction sooner. "If you don't go ahead and take some risk doing design work, you really haven't got anything to sell," Cr Robertson said.
"We've got to be bold and progressive and get these ... designs done and say 'we're serious about this'."
Regional cities are looking to Bendigo Art Gallery which has been a major tourist drawcard with Elvis and Royal exhibitions.
Bendigo secured $2 million in the state budget for a revamp - well short of the $21 million it hoped for.
But the government has promised the extra funding would come after the Commonwealth Games because it didn't want it to be a construction site during the event.
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