Cartoon gallery management looking for a group of friends

VOLUNTEERS will handle the day-to-day running of Coffs Harbour's Bunker Cartoon Gallery from next month.

Community group Bunker Cartoon Gallery Inc, which takes over management from Coffs Harbour City Council on July 1, hopes to form a Friends of the Bunker group and also plans to appoint a business development manager to handle the selling and promotion of the specialist cartoon gallery.

BCGI vice-president Paul McKeon said while the Bunker had been around for more than 20 years, various problems had meant the cartoon gallery had never had a fair go.

"We plan to give it our best shot to find out once and for all if it is a sustainable venture," Mr McKeon said.

"We want to see the Bunker achieving the great potential it has always had to be a major tourist attraction for Coffs Harbour as well as providing locals with lots of entertainment.

"Our volunteers are already putting in a major effort."

Animated cartoons, film cartoons and interactive experiences are among the new introductions planned.

BCGI has a two-year license agreement to manage the Bunker, plus the negotiable option of extending it by a further year.

The council will pay BCGI an operating subsidy of $86,000 for the first year and $80,000 in the second year. There is a further option of a $75,000 subsidy for the third year under the license agreement.

It has been estimated that the council will save around $31,000 in operating and support costs over three years through this arrangement.

Mr McKeon said the time scale was a function of technical issues involved in provisions for council subsidies within the Local Government Act. The group had originally applied for a five-year licence.

BCGI will negotiate license agreements with cartoonists whose work is included in the Bunker's vast collection so their images can be used and reproduced.

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