Kempsey Shire Council moved a recommendation at the May council meeting that will see the Slim Dusty Centre continue to operate under council's existing management agreement with the Slim Dusty Foundation Limited for a maximum further period of six months.
Council resolved to accept an offer to take over and reopen the Slim Dusty Centre for six months in October last year after the centre was abruptly closed in March 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions, following a period of reduced visitation resulting from the impact of drought and bushfires.
"The Slim Dusty Centre represents an important modern landmark in the shire and a vital link to our heritage," Mayor Liz Campbell said at the time.
The recommendation passed at Tuesday's council meeting will also allow General Manager Craig Milburn to continue to undertake the necessary due diligence and negotiations required to consider the longer-term transfer of the Slim Dusty Centre to council.
Councillor Sue McGinn spoke for the recommendation at the council meeting and said this will allow future planning for the centre.
"The Slim Dusty Centre is an important building in the community. It recognises the life of a famous person from Kempsey," she said.
"This recommendation allows for further management planning for the future."
Councillor Mark Baxter agreed: "The recommendation is to give staff six months to bring back a business plan. Nothing is set in concrete yet," he said.
Councillor Leo Hauville asked a question regarding the decision to relocate the Visitor Information Centre from the Val Melville Centre to the Slim Dusty Centre.
Council's Director Corporate Stephen Mitchell said the information regarding the Visitor Information Centre will be included in a report to be presented to council at a later date.
"We have been watching the foot traffic going into the centre and where people are going once inside, which will be include din the report," Mr Mitchell said.
A report and detailed business plan be presented to a future council meeting, no later than November 2021, regarding the possible future longer-term management and operation of the Slim Dusty Centre by Kempsey Shire Council.
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