Busselton Entertainment Arts and Cultural Hub given green light by council

The Busselton Entertainment Arts and Cultural Hub was given the green light by the City of Busselton council at its meeting on June 24, 2020.

The officer's recommendation to develop a $30.3 million performing arts and convention centre was voted in favour 8-1.

Councillor Sue Riccelli's motions to reduce the cost and scope of the build and to prioritise the Busselton Jetty's Australian Underwater Discover Centre were unsupported by her fellow councillors.

Ms Riccelli said during the meeting that while she was not against a performing arts centre the scope and cost should be scaled back so ratepayers would not be financially burdened during uncertain times.

Other councillors disagreed stating a scaled back facility would ultimately affect the centre's ability to succeed and attract events.

Speaking against the motion councillor Kate Cox said city staff had done their due diligence and the venue would play a vital role in linking the foreshore to Busselton's town centre.

Deputy mayor Kelly Hick said the BEACH was a major infrastructure project that would be there for a long time and if the project was kept at its original budget it would be set up to fail.

Mayor Grant Henley said along with being on the city's long term financial plan, once the venue was complete it would help build Busselton's night time economy which was lacking.

Councillor Ross Paine said rate concerns were not a reason to not proceed with the project and that cultural activities had been left behind in Busselton.

Now the project has approval from council the city will need to borrow $17 million over a 20 year period, and will also source grants during the construction phase to help reduce the cost.

The BEACH has been a priority project for the city for years and was identified in the South West Blueprint as a regional priority project for the South West's creative industries.

The project has already secured $10.35 million in funding from the federal government and $10.65 million from the city.

Once complete the venue will operate a convention, exhibition and performance centre in Busselton's Cultural Precinct.

The facility will be able to accommodate 1000 people, a 625-seat auditorium and hold up to 140 shows and 295 events each year.

Have your say: Do you support a performing arts and convention centre in Busselton? Why or why not? Email editorial@busseltonmail.com.au.