Proposed Joondalup arts centre draws conflicting views

An artist’s impression of the performing arts centre.
An artist’s impression of the performing arts centre.

COST versus benefit to the community were key arguments presented by residents regarding the proposed Joondalup performing arts centre at Tuesday’s council briefing session.

Councillors will decide at the June 27 meeting whether to endorse the City’s recommendation to advance the project to the design development phase at a cost of $1.7 million.

More than 50 people attended the session and 18 spoke about the project after Mayor Troy Pickard broke with council policy and allowed more time for public statements, with backing from councillors.

Several members of the arts community were in favour of the centre, saying there was a lack of suitable facilities in the northern suburbs, it was needed to attract visitors and foster children’s interest in the arts, and provide a venue for local groups and schools to perform.

Iluka resident Tom Daly was one of the 10 who gave their support, suggesting if they “build it they will come”.

“This will be the last piece of the puzzle for the people of Joondalup,” he said.

Residents against the proposal said they liked the idea of the centre but not at the cost that ratepayers would incur. Rainer Repke, of Kallaroo, urged councillors to defer it until the City obtained a funding commitment from the State Government.

Kingsley resident Sonia Makoare had her comments labelled “highly offensive” by Mr Pickard after saying she had not met anyone who supported the venue and suggested the favourable statements had been “orchestrated” by him. She was given the opportunity to apologise and continue but refused.

Cr Mike Norman requested an alternative motion to defer the project until the City received a commitment to fund 20 per cent of the cost.

Cr Philippa Taylor asked whether the project could be delivered under budget given the current economic climate. Mr Pickard then asked City officers to prepare a list of projected and final costs for projects over the past three years.

Chief executive Garry Hunt said the detailed design would give a more accurate reflection of costs.

Mr Pickard also asked the City to provide results of public consultation excluding respondents from Connolly, who made up 149 of the 1542 responses received.

Cr Russell Poliwka questioned the purpose and Mr Pickard said it would be up to councillors to interpret but there could be the “view that residents of Connolly were misinformed by representatives of the Connolly Residents’ Association”.

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