Knight fights for arts centre

COFFS Harbour Deputy Mayor Denise Knight failed to find a seconder for her move to dedicate the proceeds from any sale of the council's Gordon St properties to Brelsford Park and an entertainment centre.

She also failed to convince her fellow councillors that the city should consider a loan of $7 million to be matched by the State and Federal governments for a CBD entertainment centre.

But the mayor gave a sop to his deputy's determined guerrilla campaign for culture when he moved a motion asking for a financial report on the topic.

Mayor Keith Rhoades, seconded by Cr Jenny Bonfield, moved that a detailed report be brought back to the councillors on the funding structure for obtaining a loan or grant funds for a performing arts centre at an estimated cost of $20-25 million.

The report will outline costs for such a centre on a yearly basis, including all overheads and operational costs.

Cr Bonfield said she wanted to see an entertainment centre but her concern was not the building but "how to afford it when we've got it".

"With the constraints of the budget and ongoing maintenance, what are we going to do without?" she said.

Cr Rhoades said the Port Macquarie Hastings administrator had allowed $6.5m this year to operate Port Macquarie's Glasshouse project.

Cr Knight said in a radio interview this week she was so desperate to see a new performing arts centre for the city that she was prepared to build it in her own backyard.

The centre was part of her platform for election to local government for the first-time councillor.



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