New Performing Arts and Convention Centre

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This site provides information about the Busselton Performing Arts and Convention Centre for the Cultural Precinct in Queen Street Busselton. It is being updated regularly to help you stay informed.

Update 9 September 2021

City of Busselton Council at it's meeting on 8 September 2021 resolved to proceed with the full design and 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.


Update 31 August 2021

Thank you to everyone who took the time to express a view in the recent survey undertaken by Catalyse Pty Ltd, an independent research company.

Survey respondents were asked for their views on three options – two options to proceed with the project, and one not to proceed.

Response to the survey was strong, with a total of 2,352 people completing the survey. Overall the results indicate that the community is divided about whether Council should proceed or not, and that opinions differ dependent on a range of demographics.

Council will consider the outcomes of the survey at its Council meeting on 8 September 2021, with the survey helping to guide and inform Council in its decision making about the future of the project. The current Council report and results can be found in the City’s 8th September Council meeting agenda - supplementary item.


Busselton Performing Arts and Convention Centre – Project Overview

A Unique Experience in a Heritage Setting

A multi-functional venue, integrated with the Weld Theatre and ArtGeo Gallery. A place where our community can gather, watch live performances, participate in dance, drama or music recitals, and attend business events, award nights or graduations. A purpose built indoor performance and convention venue capable of hosting large events for over 1000 people, comprising a minimum 600 seat auditorium with retractable seats, and fixed dress circle seats, along with separate multi-purpose studio, rehearsal, break out rooms with capacity to seat 400 in banquet style layout.

Project Objectives

Provide an iconic venue of quality, contemporary design and the latest technologies that will:

  • Create new markets for business in convention, conferences, trade shows and the performing arts.
  • Diversify the City’s events offering and fill the gap in indoor venues to service the winter and shoulder seasons.
  • Enliven the Cultural Precinct, connect the City Centre and Foreshore, act as a catalyst for business growth.
  • Provide a wide range of employment opportunities, from entry level to professional hospitality, catering, events, marketing, administration and the arts.
  • Enrich the lives of our community and its visitors by increasing the spectrum of quality arts and cultural events.

Location

Following extensive consideration of potential sites, the BPACC will be located in the City’s Cultural Precinct Queen Street, Busselton strategically positioned between our town and foreshore.

Proposed Construction Timeframe (subject to change)

2023

Construction Cost Estimates

Tender responses have costed construction between $38 million for the full design to an estimated $33 million for a modified design. Value engineering may see these costs reduced further.

Established Funding

  • Australian Government $10.35 million
  • Loan Borrowings $15 million committed in budget forecasts
  • Municipal Funding including Sale of Mitchell Park Library Site $3.15 million

A list of FAQs is also available covering a range of questions - What will the project cost to build and to run? Is this the best time for the City to be taking out a substantial loan? How does this development differ from other performing arts centres across the State? These are all relevant questions and we will continue to update and expand the list.

This site provides information about the Busselton Performing Arts and Convention Centre for the Cultural Precinct in Queen Street Busselton. It is being updated regularly to help you stay informed.

Update 9 September 2021

City of Busselton Council at it's meeting on 8 September 2021 resolved to proceed with the full design and 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.


Update 31 August 2021

Thank you to everyone who took the time to express a view in the recent survey undertaken by Catalyse Pty Ltd, an independent research company.

Survey respondents were asked for their views on three options – two options to proceed with the project, and one not to proceed.

Response to the survey was strong, with a total of 2,352 people completing the survey. Overall the results indicate that the community is divided about whether Council should proceed or not, and that opinions differ dependent on a range of demographics.

Council will consider the outcomes of the survey at its Council meeting on 8 September 2021, with the survey helping to guide and inform Council in its decision making about the future of the project. The current Council report and results can be found in the City’s 8th September Council meeting agenda - supplementary item.


Busselton Performing Arts and Convention Centre – Project Overview

A Unique Experience in a Heritage Setting

A multi-functional venue, integrated with the Weld Theatre and ArtGeo Gallery. A place where our community can gather, watch live performances, participate in dance, drama or music recitals, and attend business events, award nights or graduations. A purpose built indoor performance and convention venue capable of hosting large events for over 1000 people, comprising a minimum 600 seat auditorium with retractable seats, and fixed dress circle seats, along with separate multi-purpose studio, rehearsal, break out rooms with capacity to seat 400 in banquet style layout.

Project Objectives

Provide an iconic venue of quality, contemporary design and the latest technologies that will:

  • Create new markets for business in convention, conferences, trade shows and the performing arts.
  • Diversify the City’s events offering and fill the gap in indoor venues to service the winter and shoulder seasons.
  • Enliven the Cultural Precinct, connect the City Centre and Foreshore, act as a catalyst for business growth.
  • Provide a wide range of employment opportunities, from entry level to professional hospitality, catering, events, marketing, administration and the arts.
  • Enrich the lives of our community and its visitors by increasing the spectrum of quality arts and cultural events.

Location

Following extensive consideration of potential sites, the BPACC will be located in the City’s Cultural Precinct Queen Street, Busselton strategically positioned between our town and foreshore.

Proposed Construction Timeframe (subject to change)

2023

Construction Cost Estimates

Tender responses have costed construction between $38 million for the full design to an estimated $33 million for a modified design. Value engineering may see these costs reduced further.

Established Funding

  • Australian Government $10.35 million
  • Loan Borrowings $15 million committed in budget forecasts
  • Municipal Funding including Sale of Mitchell Park Library Site $3.15 million

A list of FAQs is also available covering a range of questions - What will the project cost to build and to run? Is this the best time for the City to be taking out a substantial loan? How does this development differ from other performing arts centres across the State? These are all relevant questions and we will continue to update and expand the list.

  • Prequalified Tenders Recalled for Busselton Performing Arts and Convention Centre

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    Further to Council’s meeting of 8 September 2021 and its decision to proceed with the construction of the Busselton Performing Arts and Convention Centre, the City has invited prequalified tenderers to review their tender pricing of the centre.

    It should be noted that construction tenders up to $38 million for the construction of the centre will be considered and will be assessed on the current and previously tendered design, allowing for tenderers to provide alternative construction and material options without compromising the centre’s functionality.

    Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mike Archer said that “The Council is still actively pursuing additional State and Federal Government funding contributions to reduce the overall costs of the facility, which also includes approaching organisations such as Lotterywest.”

    Mr Archer further advised that “The City has also received a commitment of $1.97 million in additional funding from the Federal Government’s Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program (Round 3). In addition, the City welcomes Rio Tinto’s generous contribution of $250,000 towards the fit out of the building, greatly assisting the financing of the facility.”

    It is anticipated that the tender process will take approximately three weeks, where all compliant tenders will be duly assessed and considered.

    Early indications are that some of the tenderers are interested in providing revised tenders.

    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.

    Ends. Media enquiries can be directed to media@busselton.wa.gov.au

  • Council Decides on New Performing Arts and Convention Centre

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    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.

    Media enquiries can be directed to media@busselton.wa.gov.au

  • Council to Seek External Funding for its New Performing Arts and Convention Centre

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    Last night Council made one of its toughest decisions yet, evaluating tenders for the construction of the Busselton Performing Arts and Convention Centre. Three tenders were received, all of which came in well over the anticipated budget of $24.5 million and the overall project budget of $28.5 million (excluding GST).

    Tenderers indicated the increased prices to construct the centre was largely due to current construction market conditions, where high demand and prices for materials and trades have been significantly inflated. Steel, concrete and timber prices have risen significantly, all of which are a major component of the Busselton Performing Arts and Convention Centre design.

    Acknowledging receipt of the tender submission, Council declined to accept any tender and will continue to pursue additional funding from State and Federal Government. Council remains committed to the project and will review design options to reduce the cost without the loss of functionality and assess associated impacts. If further funding is not obtained within one month that would help to maintain or not significantly increase the current financial contribution by the City, Council will seek input from the community by conducting a survey that includes random sample and opt in options, to further inform its decisions on the future of the project.

    “The City has been investigating the need for a performing arts and conference venue since it was identified as a community priority project in the City’s 2007 Strategic Community Plan. The project has created much interest within the community and I believe last night’s debate confirms not only the community’s desire, but that of Council’s, to see the development of this venue. Furthermore, the City does not want to lose the committed $10.35 million of Federal Government funding.” Mayor Grant Henley advised.

    Mayor Henley also advised “While the pressure is now on for Council and the community to demonstrate to the State Government the need to recognise the value and invest in such an important arts and cultural hub, we do owe it to our ratepayers and community as a whole to inform them of the impacts, should additional funding not be forthcoming.”

    Pending additional funding being received, it is envisaged the community survey will be conducted at the end of July 2021.

    Objectives outlined in this statement are aligned with the City of Busselton’s Strategic Community Plan (2021 - 2031) Key Themes Lifestyle: A place that is relaxed, safe and friendly with services and facilities that support our lifestyle.

    Ends. Media enquiries can be directed to media@busselton.wa.gov.au

  • Outcome on Call for a BPACC Referendum

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    Fast Facts

    • At the City of Busselton Electors Meeting (8/2/2021) a motion was raised to conduct a referendum on the Busselton Performing Arts and Convention Centre (BPACC).
    • At an ordinary meeting of Council (10/3/2021), Councillors considered this motion and resolved not to undertake a referendum and to proceed with the development subject to further consideration of construction tenders once the tender process has closed.
    • Councillors Paine, Carter, Hick, Miles, Henley, Cronin and Barrett-Lennard voted not to proceed with a referendum. Councillor Riccelli voted in support for the motion to hold a referendum (Councillor Kate Cox was an apology for the meeting and did not vote).

    At its meeting last night City of Busselton Council resolved not to support the running of a referendum on whether or not development of the Busselton Performing Arts and Convention Centre (BPACC) should proceed as planned.

    The call for a referendum was led by the Bay to Bay Action Group and raised as a motion at the 8 February 2021 Electors Meeting. The item was debated by Council and after hearing from parties with an interest, and having considered all the information, Council resolved not to hold a referendum and to proceed with the project as per Council’s previous decision.

    Mayor Grant Henley said that the development was based on planning undertaken over a 13 year period and was backed by a strong business plan. “Broad consultation has been undertaken since the project was first included on the City’s Strategic Plan in 2010”, he said. “Council is well informed and has heard from the community.”

    Deputy Mayor Kelly Hick reminded those present that Council had already engaged in a deliberative democratic process on the matter. She urged fellow Councillors not to make large infrastructure decisions based on a referendum.

    “We are elected to make decisions after extensive community consultation, due diligence and budget assessment. We’ve done the homework, we’ve done the listening and we need to get on with the job we’ve been tasked to”, she said. “A referendum is a blunt tool. It is not definitive nor is it binding. A referendum is non-inclusive and not conclusive. It is, in effect, a pointless exercise.”

    Cr Cronin further noted that as a member of the BPACC Working Group, he had spent the last 1.5 years researching the development, undertaking site visits to similar venues and asking the tough questions around viability and potential cost savings.

    “Talking to experts in the field we’ve learnt a lot about design and functionality. We were advised to build a multi-purpose centre, to ensure the chairs were comfortable and to build for the view.”

    Cr Cronin further noted that since the motion to hold a referendum had been raised, he and other Councillors had received numerous calls and emails from many community groups urging Council to stand by its commitment to develop a dedicated facility for the performing arts. “We have spent so much money on sports facilities, it’s now time to invest in the arts” he said.

    Crs Carter, Paine, Miles and Barrett-Lennard echoed this sentiment. Cr Carter further noted that given the City did not go to referendum to progress other large capital developments such as the Busselton Margaret River Airport, the Civic Administration Centre or Busselton Foreshore Redevelopment, there was no precedent to progress with a referendum on the issue of the BPACC.

    “We have a strong business case and information about the project has been shared with the community,” he said. “We’ve been waiting for two decades to progress this centre, it’s time to get on with the job.”

    Members of the public who addressed Council in favour of not progressing with a referendum asked Council to “make good” on its commitment to return a purpose-built performance centre to the community noting that the original Civic Centre had been lost to office space more than 15 years ago.

    While the City has made a decision to progress with the project, a hold point at the end of the tender process exists. Should construction tenders exceed the project budget, Council will re-consider the future of the development. The tender process should be completed by June 2021.

    Media enquiries can be directed to the City’s Public Relations Coordinator, Meredith Dixon on 97810446 or meredith.dixon@busselton.wa.gov.au

    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.

    Ends. Media enquiries can be directed to meredith.dixon@busselton.wa.gov.au

Page last updated: 17 September 2021, 15:30