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 22 July 2021

At its meeting of 23 June 2021, Council declined to accept any tender for construction of the Busselton Performing Arts and Convention Centre, due to tenders coming in over budget. Council have reviewed the design to see where it can reduce costs and now seeks input from the community.

Your view will help the Council decide on how it should proceed with the project. Catalyse Pty Ltd has been engaged to survey the community between 26 July and 9 August 2021, with both a random sample and the opportunity to opt in.

If you would like to know more about the project and options, the following information sessions will be held and all are welcome to attend:

  • ArtGeo Cultural Complex, 1/4 Queen Street, Busselton on:
    • Monday 26 July 11.00am-2.00pm
    • Thursday 29 July 3.30pm-6.30pm
    • Monday 2 August 11.00am-2.00pm
    • Thursday 5 August 3.00pm-5.00pm

  • Naturaliste Community Centre, 21 Dunsborough Lakes Drive, Dunsborough on:
    • Tuesday 27 July 3.30pm-6.30pm
    • Wednesday 28 July 3.30pm-6.30pm


CLICK HERE TO COMPLETE THE SURVEY


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

Options being considered

The City of Busselton seeks to further understand community views about a proposed Busselton Performing Arts and Convention Centre (BPACC) and the level of investment Council should commit towards its construction.

Council is seeking community views on the following options, in order to guide its decision making:

Option A – Construction of a performing arts and convention centre as per the tendered design.

The facility would comprise of a 625 seat theatre along with rehearsal space and separate multi-purpose break out rooms, backstage areas, dressing rooms, green room, loading bays, ablutions, bar, foyer, box office, and kitchens, over 3 levels.

Option B – Construction of a performing arts and convention centre based on a modified design.

This option would provide the community with a performing arts and convention centre which is smaller in overall size with the second level removed and the double volume foyer reduced to a single level. The facility would retain a 603 seat theatre, with retractable seating, and a multipurpose conference / rehearsal /studio space providing flexibility of use.

Option C – Not proceeding with construction of a performing arts and convention centre at this time.

The City would forgo the $10.35M in federal funding. ArtGeo and the Weld Theatre would continue to function as they are and be the primary arts venue in the City.

To have your say click on the survey link above.

Other Useful Information

On the right you can access a library of documents relating to the Performing Arts and Convention Centre development. This includes the most recent Business Case submitted to both Federal and State Governments seeking further funding for the project, Council and other reports that relate to decision making and a summary of past communication and consultation around the project.

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 22 July 2021

At its meeting of 23 June 2021, Council declined to accept any tender for construction of the Busselton Performing Arts and Convention Centre, due to tenders coming in over budget. Council have reviewed the design to see where it can reduce costs and now seeks input from the community.

Your view will help the Council decide on how it should proceed with the project. Catalyse Pty Ltd has been engaged to survey the community between 26 July and 9 August 2021, with both a random sample and the opportunity to opt in.

If you would like to know more about the project and options, the following information sessions will be held and all are welcome to attend:

  • ArtGeo Cultural Complex, 1/4 Queen Street, Busselton on:
    • Monday 26 July 11.00am-2.00pm
    • Thursday 29 July 3.30pm-6.30pm
    • Monday 2 August 11.00am-2.00pm
    • Thursday 5 August 3.00pm-5.00pm

  • Naturaliste Community Centre, 21 Dunsborough Lakes Drive, Dunsborough on:
    • Tuesday 27 July 3.30pm-6.30pm
    • Wednesday 28 July 3.30pm-6.30pm


CLICK HERE TO COMPLETE THE SURVEY


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

Options being considered

The City of Busselton seeks to further understand community views about a proposed Busselton Performing Arts and Convention Centre (BPACC) and the level of investment Council should commit towards its construction.

Council is seeking community views on the following options, in order to guide its decision making:

Option A – Construction of a performing arts and convention centre as per the tendered design.

The facility would comprise of a 625 seat theatre along with rehearsal space and separate multi-purpose break out rooms, backstage areas, dressing rooms, green room, loading bays, ablutions, bar, foyer, box office, and kitchens, over 3 levels.

Option B – Construction of a performing arts and convention centre based on a modified design.

This option would provide the community with a performing arts and convention centre which is smaller in overall size with the second level removed and the double volume foyer reduced to a single level. The facility would retain a 603 seat theatre, with retractable seating, and a multipurpose conference / rehearsal /studio space providing flexibility of use.

Option C – Not proceeding with construction of a performing arts and convention centre at this time.

The City would forgo the $10.35M in federal funding. ArtGeo and the Weld Theatre would continue to function as they are and be the primary arts venue in the City.

To have your say click on the survey link above.

Other Useful Information

On the right you can access a library of documents relating to the Performing Arts and Convention Centre development. This includes the most recent Business Case submitted to both Federal and State Governments seeking further funding for the project, Council and other reports that relate to decision making and a summary of past communication and consultation around the project.

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.

  • 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