I live in a place of great natural beauty, our beaches are pretty impressive. However, on the man-made side of things we haven’t actually excelled. There’s not a lot of great architecture or design in my town.
When “man-made” came up for the photo challenge the first thing that came to mind was our Glasshouse, an arts and entertainment facility that only opened a few of years ago. The building is steeped in controversy. Going some $50 million over budget the Council of the time was sacked during its construction. Even today people are still divided – it’s built in the wrong place, there’s no parking, it cost way too much, we are going to be paying off this white elephant for years to come – etc, etc.
I first considered moving to Port Macquarie some 13 years ago, but in the end opted for Brisbane. My rationale was there wasn’t a big media industry (the industry I most enjoyed working in), there was no university (at the time I still thought I might go on to further study) and not a lot of artistic/cultural life (I’d just finished a degree in Literature/Theatre and was interested in that kind of stuff).
Yet I would eventually end up here. The place has changed considerably over the years. The ABC moved their Mid North Coast regional station to the town. The Glasshouse was built and now we have a full university campus about to start construction.
I’m sure if you retired to the area, planning on a peaceful life in a sleepy fishing village, you may be disappointed by the changes. Yet for me, with young(ish) children and an interest in media/arts I feel the changes could bring a lot of positive benefits to the town.
Things like a university or an active entertainment centre in a town change the vibe. There seems to be greater access to events, ideas and courses, not just for the students but the wider community. Interesting people start to make the town a stopping point on their book tours, play schedules, exhibition itineraries.
Were there mistakes made with the Glasshouse? Hell yes. But it’s here now, and I must admit I get a little thrill when I open my Sunday papers and see advertisements for shows in Sydney that have already played in my town. I love the fact I can take my kids to see The Russian Ballet, Circus Oz, Opera Australia or the Bangarra Dance Company just ten minutes from home.
What do you look for when you are choosing a place to live? Do you prefer the middle-of-nowhere or the centre-of-everything?