On June 26th Perfex, the lobby group for a performance/exhibition centre in the Bay, held an information session at the Batemans Bay Community Centre, in conjunction with their AGM.
Because there has been little communication as to where the project is up to since the results of the 3 Concept plans were announced, Council was invited to provide an update. Dr Susan Mackenzie, PerfEx President said "We were very pleased that Lindsay Usher, Director, and Stephen Phipps, Project manager attended, gave a broad update and stayed to answer many questions.
Dr Mackenzie provided an overview of the three grants for the building of the Mackay Park project, offering a reminder that there will be much the public will not see that must be accommodated from these grants such as geotech surveys, infrastructure services and archaeology searches before the community sees anything above ground Council's Director of Planning, Lindsay Usher, then gave an update on the progress so far.
Dr Mackenzie said of Director Ushers presentation "In a nutshell, there are hopes the final plan will be released in a month or so to ‘user groups’ and the Sunset Committee, with a DA and tender process following that, and work commencing in 2020. The opening of the facility is likely to be in 2022. As ever, these things take time, especially with such a project as large and complicated as this.
In terms of the latest plan Director Usher mentioned a few radical changes:
the theatre is remaining at 350 seats, but reverting to a flat floor with retractable seating (allowing more gallery and rehearsal space?),
the complex will have only one storey, and
the basic plan will be two arms with an admin hub in the centre, and a foyer with separate entrances to the Arts and pool area, (as per concepts and sketches submitted by Perfex in 2017 and 2018 it seems!) (below)
all pools will be undercover.
A full kitchen is still not in the plans, and this seems a real drawback for the centres’ use for functions.
Also, no piano or storage for piano is included in the costings, whereas this would seem essential for theatre and music events.
A space is available for technology activities but no equipment. Hopefully fast speed wifi will be connected.
Dr Mackenzie said "Being single story, it is not yet clear whether the size of the facility will be smaller than the three concept plans released earlier this year, or more ground area will be taken up, limiting expansion.
"No mention was made of the proposed future of the Batemans Bay Community Centre, a significant aspect to be addressed before final tenders and management plans are addressed.
"Some people are thinking that because we have the money and the commitment to build, that it’s ‘all done bar the shouting’, but you can see from the short list above there is still much to be aware of and provide input on from the community. This is the ongoing role of Perfex.
"To bring to completion the construction of a centre for the performing and visual arts, to meet the current and future needs of the Batemans Bay Community.’
At the AGM Sue Mackenzie was re-elected President of Perfex, Greg Bowman as Treasurer, Henk Roubos as Secretary, with Grace Paleg, Lesley Sowell, Frances Harmey and Stafford Ray as Committee members. There is still have one vacancy on the committee. "If you have time and skills you could volunteer, we’d love to hear from you", said Dr Mackenzie