This is the October 1998 plan for the centre still under consideration.
This is the October 1998 plan for the centre still under consideration.

City Hill plan gains momentum

CITY Hill has roared back on to the agenda as the venue for a major performing arts centre for Coffs Harbour.

Councillors have voted to quarantine City Hill as the future site for a performance space and to develop a Master Plan for the overall use of the one-hectare site.

They also agreed at last week’s meeting to consider an allocation of 10 per cent of the estimated construction cost for the design and development of plans and documentation for a performance space, when considering the 2011-2012 Budget.

In addition, it was resolved that an art gallery would be included in all future plans for the new performing arts space.

A skate park on the southern side of Brelsford Park may replace the previous plan to locate the performance space in the Park.

The staff report to councillors noted that the Masterplan for Brelsford Park currently included an allocation of space for a performance space but continued:

“Following significant community representation, it is suggested that the performance space be removed from the Masterplan.”

Councillors voted to amend the Brelsford Park Masterplan for work on Stage 2, ‘subject to further investigation regarding the location of a regional skate park facility’.

In June, councillors asked staff to prepare a report on an entertainment and performing arts centre which identified possible sites, provided indicative costs for facilities seating 850 people and for preparing detailed concept plans and constructions costs at the preferred site.

The flat (lower) section of City Hill was seen as the most viable alternative to Brelsford Park because it involved no acquisition costs; was level; was large enough to include car parking, had the ‘ability to address flooding issues’; was accessible and linked to other cultural facilities.

Potential issues for the site were seen as its distance to other facilities like restaurants and the need to alleviate aircraft noise.

Prices quoted for other recently-built centres ranged from $18.5 million at Dubbo for a 500-seat theatre and 200-seat flat floor civic centre facility to $70 million at Albany for a 623-seat theatre and 200-seat function room.

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