Proposed Joondalup performing arts centre draws flak

An artist's impression of what the Joondalup performing arts centre could look like.
An artist's impression of what the Joondalup performing arts centre could look like.

THE Weekender asked for your opinion on the proposed Joondalup performing arts centre and you obliged.

We were sent a heap of letters, most of them opposed to the $100 million proposal which is expected to go before Joondalup Council this month.


I would like to comment on the statements made by editor Justin Bianchini (‘Plan is centre stage’, Joondalup Weekender, June 1), where he states that the performing arts centre is the final piece in the puzzle of the vision of the city’s founding planners.

I have in my possession the booklet published in August 1977 by the JDC (Joondalup Development Corporation) and the only reference to the arts is section 36 The Central Core.

Here it refers to Civic Square located between Town Square and Town Park where it is surrounded by public buildings including the library, art gallery, museum, conference halls, local authority offices and at its highest point, a great hall.

It would be moderately accurate to state that the proposed centre would encompass some of the arts mentioned in the original plan, and while this may be the Mayor of the City of Joondalup’s vision, there are more specific questions that need to be answered.

In any survey of residents, I believe the cost to the ratepayers needs to be openly stated – are you happy to have your rates higher each year to service the debt?

The poor return results of a survey suggests indifference.

Secondly, one of the positives promoted is that it will provide a performing arts centre for the northern suburbs – then maybe a collaborative approach with neighbouring councils to share the load.

Why should the ratepayers of City of Joondalup bear the load? Thirdly, where is the demand?

I know that many local secondary schools with excellent facilities often seek to have them advertised as available.

If they were overbooked and there was a shortage, then a case could be made. Is the State Theatre Centre paying its way or is it running at an annual loss ?

I am a great supporter of the arts in all forms, but I am yet to be convinced that this “final piece of the puzzle” with a significant debt to be serviced is appropriate at the this time.




JOONDALUP has come a long way in 40-odd years, progressing from bush to regional centre. The planners were inspired with a dream to create a vibrant, self-contained northern metropolitan “capital”.

The job seems to be about 75 per cent complete but the city now sometimes feels like an annexe to Lakeside shopping centre. Apart from a handful of pubs and restaurants, the place closes down by 9pm or earlier.

In my opinion the city would benefit greatly from an iconic cultural centre which would attract large numbers of people, adding greatly to the vitality and amenity of the area.

The cost of the project seems to be foremost in the minds of the naysayers.

Certainly efforts should be made to access contributions from

State and Federal governments. Perhaps a partnership with ECU (with its performing arts campus) would be a possibility.

At the end of the day this is a project that, for this city to thrive and progress towards its full potential, must go ahead.

Let’s do it!




BE warned. It seems the City of Joondalup is considering taking on what is a State Government responsibility of providing (courtesy of Joondalup ratepayers’ wallets) the Joondalup performing arts centre for all northern corridor councils to use.

The Federal Government is not contributing to the capital outlay ($100 million+), nor is the State Government or other user councils.

Our council should concentrate on funding libraries, halls, ovals etc, for the use of Joondalup citizens.

We should not be funding a facility which will be used by other non-paying council residents.

There is a stream of economic bad news about WA and Federal finances.

Make no mistake, our rates will increase way above other marker councils.

There is no magic financial pudding and the JPAC will never make a profit.

Please make your views known to your council member.




THE point is that the project cost which needs to be funded is $100 million, plus losses of up to $1.4m per annum (per Deloitte) ongoing.

This is the number that should be reported on, and not the cost net after the cash reserves and possible Tamala Park land sales, which belong to the ratepayers. That is creative accounting and is not reporting the true cost of this project.

Also please note that the Connolly Residents Association is not opposed to a performing arts centre, just the one in its present form, to cost the ratepayers an estimated $232.4 million over its life.

We think that something around $30 million is more appropriate. This was made very clear at our (public) presentation.


Connolly Residents Association chairman


SHIRE rates are the source of all shire income.

These rates are paid by the property owners.

It seems to me that property owners are currently getting slugged with increased cost for land tax, electricity costs, water rates, vehicle licensing cost increases.

We can do without having to pay an extra $100 million debt burden for a performing arts centre in the Joondalup Shire.

If the councillors feel they must spend money, let them put

the power cables underground.

This was promised to us by Mayor Bombak some 10 or more years ago but nothing has been done.




I JUST wish to show my support for such a wonderful initiative.

This type of facility is long overdue in our northern suburbs to provide ratepayers with entertainment close at hand and opportunities for residents to show their talents.

I attend events regularly in the Council Chambers such as Sunday Serenades which should be held in a purpose built facility.

I believe the Joondalup facility would be as successful as the performing art centre at Mandurah which has been a boon to that area. Of course there is a cost involved but I am more than happy to pay an increase in rates to support the building and maintenance.




IT beggars belief that Joondalup Council could consider this project where possibly 1 or 2 per cent of the ratepayers will use this centre and 100 per cent will have to pay for it.

More suitable in Peppermint Grove where the ratepayers can afford it.




THANK you for your editorial comment on page 1 (Weekender, June 1). The plan is centre stage but the actuality is a different thing.

It is not my intention to reiterate the differences between the council (proponent’s) figures and those calculated by Deloitte and various widely experienced accountants. Rather I will stick to the council’s own publicity.

On February 23, the CEO sent me a letter with a glossy publicity leaflet attached. I am accustomed to ignoring what I recognise as promotional rhetoric and concentrating on details. Under the heading “Strategic planning” we are told “the performing arts and cultural facility is identified as important to contributing to the growth of the Joondalup City Centre into a Destination City, capable of attracting and providing economic benefits and other outcomes for residents”.

On the page immediately opposite to this statement is the observation “it is anticipated that an ongoing annual contribution of $863,000 will need to be made to the facility by the City”.

A little lower down “A depreciation expense of $1.5 million per year is estimated”. In simple terms this means that ratepayers i.e. the householders of the City will have to provide this sum (estimated by the council) to the council every year! This surely cannot be represented as an ‘economic benefit’?

In your page 1 contribution you write “the choice for or against a performing arts centre will come down to numbers. Numbers in the project and numbers on the council chamber floor.”

I suggest the latter numbers are the important ones because, based on the numbers above, the Council will be voting on whether they can get an extra $2,363,000 out of the voting ratepayers every year for the next 40 years. The elected members should remember that they are elected to serve the ratepayers, not rob them, and they would put themselves at serious risk if they vote in error.

I was fortunate to attend the public meeting at the Joondalup Resort where a most lucid and measured presentation was given by council member Russell Poliwka.

He acknowledged that the ‘numbers’ would not attract him as a private investor and drew attention to the current economic climate suggesting that ‘at another time – under different conditions, perhaps’ but now is not the time.

He concluded by saying that “if there are 13 people in the Council Chamber when the vote is taken it will only require seven people to raise their hands to agree to the proposal and it will be adopted”.

There are two sides to the argument but at this time it is clear that only one is sensible.




MY husband and I are not affiliated with any organisation.

Our concern is the continuing rise in Shire rates. We are both pensioners and know the City of Joondalup commissioned a report regarding the costing of the (proposed) performing arts centre. At what cost?

Why is it being ignored.

The commissioned report stated an annual loss of $1.4 million.

What else is the City of Joondalup thinking of selling when the building costs blow out and the losses keep mounting up?

It will only be the ratepayers who will have to keep paying higher and higher rates.

In the City of Joondalup the Shire owns and manages 33 halls, clubrooms and community facilities.

Why can’t one of these facilities be used.




I REFER to your report “Plan is centre stage”, Weekender, June 1.

I am very concerned about this project (proposed City of Joondalup performing arts centre) and the excessive cost as well as the criticism directed at the Connolly Residents Association.




THIS (proposed performing arts centre in Joondalup) is the most irresponsible use of ratepayers’ money. It will drown us in debt.

At the (Connolly Residents Association) information meeting at the Joondalup Resort, which over 200 people attended, not a single person spoke in favour of the project. Not one.

That says it all.




I STRONGLY oppose the development of the performing arts building. A complete waste of ratepayers’ money.



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