New Performing Arts and Convention Centre

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

Busselton Performing Arts and Convention Centre - Project Overview

Location

  • Queen Street Cultural Precinct, Busselton

Total Cost

  • $28.5 million

Funding Sources (To Date)

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

Proposed Construction Timeframe (subject to change)

2021/2022

Project Milestones (Subject to change)

  • Tender for Design Awarded - Jan 2020
  • EoI Construction Contract - Aug 2020
  • Relocation of Woodturners - Oct 2020
  • Design Development Complete – Feb/March 2021
  • Construction Contract Awarded – May/June 2021
  • Site demolition and preparation - Mid 2021
  • Practical Completion - Late 2022
  • Opening – Early 2023

A Unique Experience in a Heritage Setting

A flexible indoor events space with capacity for over 1000 people, comprising a 625 seat auditorium with 343 retractable seats, and 152 fixed dress circle seats over two levels, along with separate conferencing break out rooms with capacity to seat over 400 people in a banquet dining style layout with views to Geographe Bay.

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.

How to Access Useful Information

On the right you can access a library of documents relating to the Performing Arts and Convention Centre development. This includes the Business Case submitted to the State Government seeking funding for the project in August 2020, Council and other committee reports that relate to decision making and a summary of past communication and consultation around the project.

You can also access the latest designs and concept drawings supplied Architects Kerry Hill noting that these designs may be refined further as consultation with key stakeholders continues.

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.

You can also share your views on the development of a Performing Arts and Convention Centre and ask questions of City Officers, Councillors and other community members in the open forum. Your comments will be live for all to see and for all to respond to. This open discussion is a good thing – we need to share our collective passion and concern. In posting and responding, we must also respect the views of all. If you prefer not to post an open comment or question, you can email precinct@busselton.wa.gov.au directly.

Update February 2021 – What’s in a name?

In mid-2020, Council sought feedback from the community on the future look and feel of the Queen Street Cultural Precinct. Over 250 people responded to the survey which included a question on the naming direction for the new performing arts and convention centre.

These responses were synthesized by Ink Strategy, an independent consultant. They highlighted four popularly supported themes for a future name all of which bode well for a strong market brand for the new centre.

These naming themes are:

  • A preference for drawing on our district’s location and geography
  • The desire to honour the language and culture of the Wadandi Noongar people
  • A name that reflected our unique flora and fauna, the Bay and waterways
  • Something contemporary, abstract even, with modern cultural reference

During December 2020 and January 2021 we invited community members to consider three potential names currently on the table and provide their feedback. People were also invited to share any other naming suggestions they may have.

We received some interesting suggestions from the community and these being reviewed against the naming themes identified in earlier consultation.

An initial review of naming suggestions is being undertaken by the BPACC reference group consisting of City of Busselton Councillors, Officers and community representatives. The list will be narrowed down and suggestions which align with community aspirations identified in earlier consultation presented to Council.

We want to thank everyone who participated in the consultation around the naming of the new centre.

Please visit the library for more information on the Busselton Performing Arts and Convention Centre and the Cultural Interpretation Strategy.

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

Busselton Performing Arts and Convention Centre - Project Overview

Location

  • Queen Street Cultural Precinct, Busselton

Total Cost

  • $28.5 million

Funding Sources (To Date)

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

Proposed Construction Timeframe (subject to change)

2021/2022

Project Milestones (Subject to change)

  • Tender for Design Awarded - Jan 2020
  • EoI Construction Contract - Aug 2020
  • Relocation of Woodturners - Oct 2020
  • Design Development Complete – Feb/March 2021
  • Construction Contract Awarded – May/June 2021
  • Site demolition and preparation - Mid 2021
  • Practical Completion - Late 2022
  • Opening – Early 2023

A Unique Experience in a Heritage Setting

A flexible indoor events space with capacity for over 1000 people, comprising a 625 seat auditorium with 343 retractable seats, and 152 fixed dress circle seats over two levels, along with separate conferencing break out rooms with capacity to seat over 400 people in a banquet dining style layout with views to Geographe Bay.

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.

How to Access Useful Information

On the right you can access a library of documents relating to the Performing Arts and Convention Centre development. This includes the Business Case submitted to the State Government seeking funding for the project in August 2020, Council and other committee reports that relate to decision making and a summary of past communication and consultation around the project.

You can also access the latest designs and concept drawings supplied Architects Kerry Hill noting that these designs may be refined further as consultation with key stakeholders continues.

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.

You can also share your views on the development of a Performing Arts and Convention Centre and ask questions of City Officers, Councillors and other community members in the open forum. Your comments will be live for all to see and for all to respond to. This open discussion is a good thing – we need to share our collective passion and concern. In posting and responding, we must also respect the views of all. If you prefer not to post an open comment or question, you can email precinct@busselton.wa.gov.au directly.

Update February 2021 – What’s in a name?

In mid-2020, Council sought feedback from the community on the future look and feel of the Queen Street Cultural Precinct. Over 250 people responded to the survey which included a question on the naming direction for the new performing arts and convention centre.

These responses were synthesized by Ink Strategy, an independent consultant. They highlighted four popularly supported themes for a future name all of which bode well for a strong market brand for the new centre.

These naming themes are:

  • A preference for drawing on our district’s location and geography
  • The desire to honour the language and culture of the Wadandi Noongar people
  • A name that reflected our unique flora and fauna, the Bay and waterways
  • Something contemporary, abstract even, with modern cultural reference

During December 2020 and January 2021 we invited community members to consider three potential names currently on the table and provide their feedback. People were also invited to share any other naming suggestions they may have.

We received some interesting suggestions from the community and these being reviewed against the naming themes identified in earlier consultation.

An initial review of naming suggestions is being undertaken by the BPACC reference group consisting of City of Busselton Councillors, Officers and community representatives. The list will be narrowed down and suggestions which align with community aspirations identified in earlier consultation presented to Council.

We want to thank everyone who participated in the consultation around the naming of the new centre.

Please visit the library for more information on the Busselton Performing Arts and Convention Centre and the Cultural Interpretation Strategy.

Discussions: All (18) Open (18)
  • A Busselton performing arts centre, with the proposed location and costs, has lots of issues.

    by Concerned ratepayer, 9 months ago
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    So, some Busselton residents want a performing arts centre - how many? Some want it in the middle of the cultural precinct between the Weld Theatre and the art gallery - how many? I have many issues about this project and the Council's push to steamroll this project ahead. For example, the location is wrong - the Council talks about future city growth but this site will not allow for any further expansion. It's the wrong location! Parking - totally lacking. Add the congestion from the hotels and brewery, plus restaurants and it's going to be a nightmare of traffic. Costs - these keep rising, then falling but whatever the final figure MIGHT be, it will still involve extensive borrowings which we, the ratepayers, will pay for. Along with the expected but unknown operating losses, we will pay with ever increasing rates. Timing - this is a time when people and businesses are suffering from the effects of COVID-19. The Council should have priorities aimed more at helping the community, not large-scale capital works of dubious consequences. Lack of consultation and transparency - who is being consulted, what is going on, how much will this all cost etc etc? How is this 'thing' going to help local shops, businesses, increase the vibrancy of the town, as claimed? We might need a PAC but not now, not there and not at that price!

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  • Cultural Precinct a bonus for Busselton

    by Johnno, 9 months ago
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    I would like to thank the CoB for the information available concerning the Cultural Precinct proposal.

    This development would be a huge boost and benefit for Busselton and the whole area. It would totally revitalize the CBD as well as being a long term asset for the whole community.

    I think the current Council and past Councils have done a fantastic job in pushing for this development over many years.

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  • New Performing Arts and Convention Centre - What's In a Name?

    by Sayo1, 7 months ago
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    The name Saltwater could be confusing, especially for visitors from the Eastern States, as it is already used in places.  For example - Saltwater River, a former convict colony on the Tasman peninsula.  Saltwater Luxury Accommodation onFreycinet in Tasmania.  Saltwater creek in Victoria. Saltwater sandals.  Saltwater Marine (Freo) . Saltwater Fish bar (Byford), Saltwater Industries (sign writers WA), Saltwater Lifestyle clothing and homewares store (Victoria), Saltwater National Park (NSW), John Lennon's famous song 'Saltwater', Saltwater cafe Phillip Island, etc, etc, etc.


    BPRACC doesn't roll off the tongue like BREC  - I have no idea how you would pronounce that.  Not good for advertising.


    Beach is probably the best out of the three for me.  But would like to see other options.

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  • Naming the performing arts centre

    by Roslyn Happ, 7 months ago
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    The Name?

    I am going to try ‘The Geo Entertainment Centre’.

    We already have ‘Art Geo’ which is a great brand.  It rolls off the tongue and has stuck.  Geo is a short ‘funky’ name a bit like ‘Mona’.  

    It puts it squarely in ‘the Art Geo Space’.  

    It belongs to ‘Geographe Bay’ .... which you are trying to depict in the design.

    It is like the Beach ... but better!

    It sounds interesting but not too posh

    Everyone understands ‘entertainment’

     

    ‘G’ .... the sound .... Joyful, jester, jovial, generous, gentle, jampact, jolly, 

     

    ‘E’ ... exciting, entertaining, excellent, empathy, 

     

    ‘O’ ... Oh!, opera, obo, ode, ochre, olé, Ozzy Ozzy Ozzy!  


    People don't mind saying 'the Perth entertainment Centre'.  It doesn't need to be short!  Try it out .... where is it being held?   "At the Geo entertainment Centre!"

     


     

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  • Saltwater would mean very little. Keep it Simple: Busselton Entertainment Centre.

    by Brian, 6 months ago
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    Firstly, I am not sold on the current site. It's too cramped with no room for later expansion and the lack of car parking space is of great concern. Parking is at a premium at the beach end of Queen Street et al and this is without the addition of the Hilton Hotel with more rooms than car spaces.

    THE NAME: Saltwater conveys nothing of what the building would be used for - could be a pub, a café, a gym etc.

    Keep it Simple and descriptive - Busselton Entertainment Centre,  BEC.

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  • Busselton Performing Arts and Convention Centre

    by Johnno, 4 months ago
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    I would like to yet again throw my support behind this project.  To me the concept is well conceived and will be an asset to the whole Busselton district.  When I consider what the foreshore area looked like when I first came to Busselton compared to what it is now there is comparison.  The CoB has put in every effort to create a tourist focal hotspot for the City that attacks people to area, provides employment opportunities and gives Busselton a real vibrancy.  I cannot understand why people are so against a project that ultimately will be the envy of may other towns and cities in the south west and will provide such great opportunities to our cultural identity for the young and those a bit older.

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  • More needs to be taken into consideration!

    by Sarahrf, 4 months ago
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    I ask the council:

    Have you even considered 'bump in' and 'bump out'? what about equipment?, time is money- what if they can't afford to hire the venue a whole 2hours before the show starts and a whole 2hours after just so they can bring everything required into and out of the building. You can't/ won't be able to just take it through the front of the building;1. The doors won't be big enough2. It will disrupt the audience, not to mention start times, finish times etc of performances, shows etc. 3. The vehicles have no way of holding space close enough to the building without disrupting structure or traffic4. The potential heaviness of equipment and props and scenery of productions have higher chance of damage or personal injury with a massive amount to walk/carry from the front all the way to the back of the stage- is there even space to hold it? what about prop and scenery change during a show?- and what about personnel? what if there's only two men or one person having to do this job?

    I have so many issues with this so called 'forward thinking' building, it seriously needs to be considered more and more industry people, and even potential occupants of local performances need to be asked and considered. Contemporary artists, not just the stereotypical performers and disciplines, but the out of the box thinkers and innovators in arts and entertainment today.

    For example what about contemporary performance art? what if the audience could be within the show, or the requirement of the show is for the audience to be seated in a different arrangement or even on the floor? don't even get me started on the quality of the actual stage- it needs to be considerate of high quality physical theatre and dance performances- you cant just jump on wood- it will cause physical damage to people and then there a whole law suit! if they're going to do it- it needs to be done right the first time! including all of the technical equipment, not to mention the infrastructure for forward thinking use of lights, aerial- can the venue even support these types of shows? what about ceiling hight for circus performances? what about acoustics for music concerts with a variety of band equipment and high-tech sound equipment required? or even small performances or singer song writers? what about operas that are needing a whole orchestra sound pit? so the show can occur with live sound? and this is just the tip of the iceberg!

    And how about the venue hire? for local artists as well large performance groups? and the cost!? government/council assistance so local performances can put performances on in there? especially graduates from WAAPA and the like so they can perform without the expenses of a theatre such BREC or WA Theatre Centre but with the quality stage and audience takings?

    Have they even considered dressing room space and rehearsal rooms? what if there are two shows happening at the same time- the Weld Theatre centre and the Entertainment centre? not to mention the sound proofing from the audience and stage and access to the stage! if you were to put on an opera for example- the costumes need a lot of space, let alone the approximate 300 performance, cast and crew. then the rehearsal space and sound consideration to be rehearsing 'act 2' backstage while act one is performing.

    Have you looked at already existing performance spaces that you can create in a multifunction performance space so it can act like the 'RAC Arena' within the performing arts and cultural arts sector- such as the Studio Underground, Heath Ledger Theatre? The BREC is outdated for performance art of the now and performance art of the future, it can't just be a venue that limits the potential of entertainment being performed by a traditional centre with 'extra' add ons. THAT IS NOT THE POINT of the venue, is it? if you want locals, national and even interstate artists/performers/entertainers etc to come to this town- it needs to offer a facility that provides better function and quality than the building's built before.


    Have you considered PICA? The Blue Room Theatre centre? etc.

    Honestly it is extremely disappointing to see such a potential of a building to liven the Performing arts sector up and potentially give a venue for small to large local to international artists and variety of performers to be thrown away by not considering the up and coming generation of artists. have you even asked local performing arts graduates? aspiring school graduates of performing arts? kids with dreams of becoming a 'dancer', an 'actor', a 'circus performer', a musician, comedian, singer songwriter etc etc. perhaps a way to bring 'life' into the building is to ask toddlers who are dreaming of the future with vivid imaginations of what they want the venue to be and take it into practical consideration and obviously recognise whats practical and possible and whats just imaginable, but I bet it will give you a lot of ideas. as well as adolescence, young adults- the local artists performing around Busselton, the dance schools etc.  

    This is way to outdated to be a venue worth putting in such a fortune to build, we can do better! and the location is terrible! what about the residence behind and surrounding this venue? go door knocking and ask every single person what they think of it! tell them about the cars coming and going, the sound of the venue, the trucks, the people, the shows etc, the lights and visual effects of the outside of the building, the audio effects, the enthusiasm and excitement of patrons, the lack of access to their own houses, going to and from the local shops and restaurants etc you're not considering how it is going to impact the lives of those who will most definitely be affected. what about the food outlets- will they be informed prior to the event so they can be efficiently staffed and have supplies? will they be open before and after shows? what about access to the locals if most of the patrons are coming from external suburbs or cities?

    Building an Arts and Entertainment centre in this part of town is going to cause more havoc and chaos than you have considered. It's just not good enough. the past decade of thinking and planning this building is a whole century outdated for what this venue needs to be created for. have you even gone to any art performances in WA? I bet if you chose 10 shows of each discipline- dance (classical, contemporary, ballroom, modern, burlesque, circus among many others!) musical theatre, acting, physical theatre, performing arts theatre, cultural performances, musicians, operas, etc etc. you would reconsider the functionality of this plan.

    I am 100% for building an entertainment centre, as a local artist myself, recent graduate of WAAPA, I want to be able to hold shows and events here, however the current structure of this venue rules me out of my innovative and out of the box vision for what I want to create, besides am I even going to be able to afford the stage space if I am a one man show? or a group as little as 3?

    I'm looking forward to how you will consider this for the planning of this building, and your reply. 

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  • Change Plans before it's too late

    by RoseC, 4 months ago
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    Given the number of concerns expressed by the public via comments and newspaper opinion pieces, it's time to re-think the plan. The issues I see are:

    - Cost at a time when the community and businesses have been hammered by COVID impacts. Cost includes debt and the ongoing losses associated with running the place (which you have already admitted to)

    - The incorrect assumption that we would draw big acts here and that would bring tourists - we don;t have the population or venue size to support large (and expensive) acts; and tourists don't visit a place for a show unless there's a unique aspect eg the Lleuwin Estate outdoor concert

    - the current design it at complete odds with the streetscape and could be anywhere - there's nothing to indicate it is located in a regional center

    - the conflict between approving hotel and other venue developments that include convention / conference facilities, then adding a council facility

    - apparently forgetting that any performing arts venue has to be able to survive throughout the year - which means it needs to be well patronised by locals during off-season. Which means a smaller venue

    I have lived in two other tourist regions (in QLD) - having a number of small  venues is what works best to and also enables venues to have an aesthetic in keeping with a regional environment (instead of looking like any other city development). Lower costs associated with smaller venues also means it is more finacially viable for local performers and audiences to afford to have / attend shows.The Sunshine Coast performing arts / entertainment centre is simple and looks daggy (because of the era in which it was built)   - but nobody cares about that. The center is well patronised and used for a range of purposes. It is sustainable because of relatively low cost and the fact that it serves a populaiton 10 times ours. 

    Please don't add to our rates costs for an ugly white elephant. Keep development in harmony with our regional character and resources.

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