Joondalup: Public to have say on $100 million performing arts centre


Artist impressions of the proposed Joondalup performing arts centre.
Joondalup: Public to have say on $100 million performing arts centre
Joondalup: Public to have say on $100 million performing arts centre
Joondalup: Public to have say on $100 million performing arts centre
Joondalup: Public to have say on $100 million performing arts centre
Artist impressions of the proposed Joondalup performing arts centre.

THE community can soon have its say on the proposed $100 million Joondalup performing arts centre.

The City of Joondalup held a council meeting last Wednesday where councillors unanimously endorsed the project’s business case and a communications plan ready for public consultation.

Community consultation is from February 16 to March 30 and involves an information brochure, including the cost per ratepayer, sent to all City of Joondalup residents, ratepayers and businesses and two community forums.

Another report with the consultation results will be presented in June when councillors will decide whether to proceed with construction of the project.

The need for a Joondalup performing arts centre was identified in 1992, with land on Kendrew Crescent bought in 2004.

In 2014, ARM Architecture – also responsible for Elizabeth Quay and Perth Arena – was named the preferred designer with its ‘art box’ concept.

The facility – which is expected to be ready for operation by July 2019, subject to funding approvals – will include an 850-seat main auditorium, 200-seat secondary theatre, rehearsal, conference and exhibition spaces, an art gallery, a Jinan Chinese cultural garden and a multi-storey carpark.

The project is estimated to cost $99.7 million, with an annual operating cost estimated at $863,000, not including borrowing costs and depreciation.

The City is expected to fund this with $37.5 million in reserves, a $10 million grant and $57.8 million of borrowings.

These borrowings will result in $22.6 million of interest, creating a debt of $80.4 million.

However, the City has flagged that $46.7 million from the sale of the City’s share of the Tamala Park Regional Council land will be used to repay some of the debt, leaving $33.7 million.

In total, it is estimated the performing arts centre will cost an average of $55.27 per rateable property per year over the 40-year life of the project.

Mayor Troy Pickard said the consultation material to be sent out would allow everyone in the community to “fairly and freely participate”.

“The information included will ensure that warts and all are presented to members of our community in an open and transparent manner,” he said.

“It is a big decision for the council to make and it is crucial our community is actively encouraged to participate in public consultation.

“We have a robust document that lays all the facts on the table for the community to make an informed decision.”

Cr Kerry Hollywood said the performing arts centre would benefit all residents in the northern suburbs and bring many tourists to the City “especially with the Jinan gardens”.

“This will no doubt encourage developers to proceed with further development within the Boas Avenue precinct including a much-needed hotel,” she said.

“A complete town centre will be something for everyone.

“Yes it is a cost to the ratepayers but so are all of the other facilities in Joondalup including leisure and community centres, sporting fields and events.”

Cr Liam Gobbert said he was specifically interested in “residents’ thoughts on cost to households compared to what they would ordinarily spend if they had to travel out of our City to take up a similar service”.

“I think they will be very much interested to see how much they will save and what that could mean for the growth and development of arts and culture within the City of Joondalup,” he said.

Cr Tom McLean said he supported the project going to public consultation but he still had “deep concerns”.

He said the project was a “regional facility” to service the northern corridor, of which Joondalup makes up 47 per cent and is estimated to make up 34 per cent by 2036.

“Why are we, the Joondalup ratepayers, footing the entire bill for construction and running costs,” he asked.

“Our neighbours Wanneroo, Stirling and others are not contributing, the Federal Government is not interested and neither is the State Government.”

He said the $10 million grant was also yet to be committed so the City’s borrowings could still increase.

Cr Russell Poliwka also expressed “severe concerns” regarding the funding of the project.

“We are, to my knowledge, the only local government that is talking about funding 100 per cent of performing arts centre, which is a regional facility, which will be servicing well outside of our area of influence,” he said.

“If we are to proceed, we need to have some significant funding from other resources.”

In closing, Mr Pickard said the City of Joondalup was “no ordinary local government”.

“If people wish the City of Joondalup to be the capital of the north… the decisions we make will benefit a broader catchment,” he said.

“To highlight the nonsensical argument that other cities should contribute to this would suggest we need to build a wall around our boundaries and charge a fee for anyone that doesn’t pay rates to drive on our roads or visit our city centre; it’s ludicrous to suggest that.

“We are a large local government that drives economic development opportunities for out local community and for our business community.

“I suspect there aren’t many households in the City of Joondalup that realise that they’re spending well in excess of $100 per household travelling in to Perth to watch performing arts and cultural events.

“And I suspect there aren’t many households that realise the amount of money that we subsidise for the hire of our community facilities, the subsidies for our active reserves and the provision of library facilities pales into significance the contribution being proposed per household towards this significant facility.”

According to a City statement, the project is expected to create more than 600 jobs during construction, as well as more than 40 full-time employees per year after opening.

It is also anticipated it will attract visitors to the region who will add $2 million to the local economy each year.

Mr Pickard said the project was “an investment by the City in greater social capital, as well as arts and culture that will drive greater economic development opportunity and further position Joondalup as a major tourist hub”.

“A performing arts and cultural facility is the last piece in the jigsaw that will make Joondalup the truly great City that was first envisaged by Sir Charles Court,” he said.

“The City openly acknowledges the facility will run at a deficit, as do performing arts and cultural centres throughout the world, however the City will embrace industry practice in order to maximise revenue opportunities for the centre.

“The annual deficit will pale into insignificance when compared to the cultural vibrancy, economic activity and net benefit per household this facility will bring to our community when all factors are taken into consideration.”

He said the City had restructured some of its business to deliver significant operational savings over the next 20 years and ensure there was no additional impact on household rates.

To make a submission, go to www.joondalup.wa.gov.au.