Council Decides on New Performing Arts and Convention Centre

Published on Thursday, 9 September 2021 at 12:39:04 PM

Fast Facts

  • Following cost escalations on tender, Council conducted a community survey to further inform their decision making with regards to the future of the Busselton Performing Arts and Convention Centre (BPACC).
  • At an ordinary meeting of Council (8/9/2021), Councillors considered the survey information and a range of options with regards to the future of the BPACC project, and resolved to proceed with construction of the BPACC on the basis of the current and previously tendered design, with prices for a construction contract value of up to $38 million.
  • Councillors Paine, Carter, Hick, Miles, Cox, Cronin and Barrett-Lennard voted to proceed with the full tendered design. Councillor Riccelli and Henley voted against the motion, with both having foreshadowed alternative motions.

City of Busselton Council last night resolved to proceed with construction of the new Busselton Performing Arts and Convention Centre (BPACC).

After careful consideration Council determined to proceed with construction of the BPACC on the basis of the current and previously tendered design, with prices to be sought up to a construction contract value of $38 million.

The total project value is estimated at $44.5 million, inclusive of consultant costs, fit out and landscaping, and a contingency provision of $3 million, necessary for a project of this size. Confirmed funding for the project includes the Federal grant of $10.35 million, $2.7 million from sale of the old library building, $2 million in LRCIP funding, $250,000 in sponsorship from Rio Tinto, and approximately $2.5 million from Council reserve and retained surplus funds.

In making its decision Council acknowledged the community concerns raised by some residents in relation to the cost of the project, and requested that the CEO review funding options for the BPACC which may assist to mitigate concerns around rate increases and debt levels. This includes continuing to pursue State and Federal Government funding contributions, and reviewing the use of the City’s existing reserves to potentially reduce treasury borrowings.

Mayor Grant Henley said “Extensive research, market analysis and industry consultation has been undertaken over the past decade to inform the design and viability of the centre. The City has invested a lot of time in developing a venue that will serve the needs of our local community.”

“We understand there is some community concern with respect to the cost of building a performing arts and convention centre however Council believes now is the right time to proceed, with interest rates at a very low level and with support of significant federal funding. Council believes it has the financial capacity to proceed and will look at all options to mitigate the impact on rates.

The City has been investigating the need for a performing arts and conference venue for over ten years and Council believe it is time we invest in the future of arts and culture in the City.”

“34% of residents and 36% of businesses who responded to the survey support the project proceeding in full, and another 11% supported it proceeding in a reduced form. Added to that, 50% of out of area ratepayers supported proceeding with the full design, and 23% a modified design.

“While not a visitor survey, those who opted in demonstrated support. Event related tourism is one of the major economic strategies of the City of Busselton that is sustaining and creating jobs. The construction of this Centre will create around 150 jobs for West Australians.”

The BPACC will be a purpose built indoor performance and convention venue capable of hosting large events, comprising of a 600 seat auditorium, fixed dress circle seats, along with separate multi-purpose studio with capacity to seat 400 people.

The multi-functional venue, integrated with the Weld Theatre and ArtGeo Gallery is expected to be a place where the community can gather, watch live performances, participate in dance, drama or musical recitals, attend business events, award nights and graduations.

Objectives outlined in this statement are aligned with Key Goal Area 2 and 6 in the City of Busselton’s Strategic Community Plan (Review 2019):Places and Spaces that are vibrant, attractive and affordable: Leadership that is visionary, collaborative and accessible.

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