Cultural Centre Redevelopment

Cultural Centre Project in Brief

• The 31 year old Margaret River Cultural Centre is tired and lacks contemporary comfort, ambiance, technology and universal accessibility for disabled persons.
• Despite lack of audience comfort it is used by over 25,000 users each year for a full program of Circuit West, commercial buy in shows, local productions, indoor cinema, and school and community events effectively as Margaret River’s only town hall.
• This priority SuperTown project will seek to redevelop the Centre into a vibrant Hub of Entertainment, Arts and Regional Tourism (HEART) strategically located in the State’s most visited region outside of Perth.
• The HEART complex will strongly complement the planned upgrading of the Margaret River Main Street with both projects revitalizing the central business district (CBD) of Margaret River, which is the State’s premier regional tourist destination for interstate and international visitors.
• Comfortable permanent seating for 310 patrons will be installed in a major refurbishment of the theatre. To cater for activities requiring floor space the adjacent, historically under-utilised 36 year old squash courts will be converted into a flexible multipurpose space for dance classes, cabarets, presentations, exhibitions, dinners and other functions. It will operate as a lesser hall would have in days gone by. The two areas will be joined by a new foyer suitable for pre- and post-event functions with a modern commercial kitchen and bar service. The adjacent indoor basketball court will be accessible from the foyer for major exhibitions such as the annual Margaret River Agricultural Show.
• From a community health and safety perspective, an estimated $890,000 will be spent on removal and replacement of 32-36 year old asbestos cement sheeting, which has been rated to be in a fair to poor condition in an area of high public utilisation and is adjacent to the local Catholic Primary School.
• Margaret River is a high bush fire prone area and the Cultural Centre is designated as an emergency evacuation centre and welfare centre in the Shire’s Emergency Management and Recovery Plans. The Centre was fully deployed during the November 2011 Margaret River fires. An enhanced HEART complex with improved functionality and flexibility will ensure the range of evacuation and welfare centre functions can be competently carried out in the event of a disaster.
• A total of $5.2 million, in 2015 dollars, is being sought from Royalties for Regions (RfR) programs. As the project is scheduled to be undertaken in 2016, the $5.2 million will have escalated at 4% pa to $5.408 million.
• It is hoped to attract $3.1 million out of the potential $9 million available under the Regional Art Centres Sustainability Initiative. A further $2.1 million will be targeted from other RfR funding sources.
• The total budget will be $7,091,840 in 2015 figures and leveraged funds would be $1,891,840 seeking $5,200,000 in RfR funding. That represents leveraged contributions of 27% from the Shire, Lotterywest and other sources with the remaining 73% from RfR. In other words, $1 is being contributed for every $3 sought from RfR.
• The new development will also leverage off and complement the previous investment of $11.2 million in the award winning new Civic and Administration Building opened by the Premier on 4 February 2012 and complete the Civic, Cultural and Recreational Precinct.
• The recycled facilities will be a further Shire contribution to the project, have a fair value of $3.24 million and a replacement value of $8.78 million.
• State of the art facilities will also enable satellite events to be held in conjunction with major events, such as the Drug Aware Pro, Cinéfest Oz, and the Gourmet Escape, as well as attracting new stand-alone initiatives such as the Emergence Creative Festival, Readers and Writers Festival and the Margaret River Show.
• During the construction phase in 2015/16 and 2016/17, the estimated benefit from the direct expenditure of $5.475 million for the Construction sector and an additional $525,000 for the Professional, Scientific and Technical Services sector of the Shire’s economy will result in a total increase in output of $11.1 million.
• Corresponding to this are anticipated increases in employment of 31 jobs, $2.2 million in wages and salaries, and $4.2 million in terms of value added. A net benefit of $5.1 million and a cost-to-benefit ratio of 1.85:1 is estimated after direct, indirect and induced effects are taken into account during the construction phase.
• Based on the findings of the Central NSW Study, “Value Added” the direct economic impact and the flow on effects of the current operations of the Margaret River Cultural Centre are likely to be over $1 million pa including a substantial volunteer base currently over 100 persons. Improved facilities will increase patronage to cultural activities which will also grow steadily from population and visitor growth into the future generating significantly increased direct and flow on economic benefits from cultural and community activities alone.
• 44% of the South West’s Creative Specialists and 37% of the Creative Workforce live in the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River and the City of Busselton. The growth of the Creative Industries and Arts is a key strategy for employment growth in the Shire. The HEART project will support the growth of creative industries by providing a high amenity multipurpose performance and meeting venue, providing direct and flow on employment, improving brand value and tourist visitation.
• Although the HEART is not intended to be a stand-alone convention centre, conferences and business events can also be attracted, particularly in winter when tourist visitation is low, by targeting the rapidly growing Perth and South West markets. If upgraded, the Busselton Airport will potentially open up the market for interstate and international business visitors, as well as leisure tourists.
• Currently there is only the Abbey Beach Resort that is capable of holding any large conferences of 300+ in the Margaret River Region, so the new centre will have a unique selling proposition (USP) based on its sought after location, diversity of facility options, range of available accommodation choices, and a broadly based business model combining cultural, community and business usage.
• Under an aspirational 12 annual business events (three day duration) scenario, total output is expected to rise by $4.010 million. Corresponding to this are anticipated increases in employment of 19 jobs, $0.933 million wages and salaries, and $1.810 million in terms of value added.
• The HEART Centre will succeed and be sustainable due to its current utilisation of over 25,000 users pa, anticipated strong population and visitor growth in the Margaret River catchment over the next ten years and beyond, and the ability to attract a modest target of six to twelve three day business conferences per annum on the basis of Council continuing to subsidise arts and community related activities, and business events being run on a commercial basis to cover costs and contribute to refurbishment and depreciation costs.
• After more than three years of planning and community involvement, the Cultural Centre redevelopment is shovel ready for investment. Community participation has been achieved through the regional arts centre study, the SuperTown Community Reference Group, a stakeholder working group set up by Council, two Shire wide community surveys, several decisions of successive Councils, newspaper advertising seeking feedback, advertising the Shire’s cultural facilities blueprint, and presentations to key stakeholder groups. Ongoing community participation and feedback strategies are in place.
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