The Busselton community remain divided on whether a performing arts and convention centre should go ahead with survey results showing an almost split opinion.
Respondents were asked whether they would prefer to go ahead with the project as planned with the inflated cost, scale back the build at a reduced cost or not to proceed with the project at all.
Around 2,350 people responded to the survey, which was conducted by Catalyse Pty Ltd, and showed that "overall the community was divided about whether to proceed or not."
Fifty three per cent of respondents said they would prefer not to proceed with the centre at all and return $10.35 million to the federal government, which was granted to the city for the project.
Forty five per cent of respondents supported the project with 34 per cent of those preferring to go ahead with the construction as planned at the higher cost, and 11 per cent who would prefer a scaled back building at a reduced cost.
Reasons cited by people who chose not to go ahead with the project were rate rises, the facility would not be needed and that the money could be better spent elsewhere.
People who supported the project said it would support the region's growing population, provide social and economic benefits, be a place to showcase the arts and attract visitors to the region.
Council will be asked to vote on September 8, 2021 whether the city should proceed with the project and how much money they should spend on construction if they agree to build the centre.
The agenda briefing on September 1 will give community members an opportunity to address council on the matter.
The community survey was sent to 4,000 random residents earlier this year, with an opt-in option available for others who wanted to have their say on the project.
Council agreed to the survey after construction costs came in at more than $13 million over budget during the tender process, which was attributed to rising costs and demand in the building and construction industry.
If council decide to go ahead with the project with no changes it is estimated building and construction could cost ratepayers $38 million.
City officers have recommend three options for the council to either go ahead with the construction but not to exceed $38 million in costs, to go ahead with construction but modify the building at a reduced cost or not to proceed at all. No alternative motions had been raised by councillors at the time of publication.
Have your say: Should the city proceed with the project? Why or why not? Email email@example.com.