Hub to bring CBD back to life

Jackson Lavell-LeeBusselton Dunsborough Times
Councillors say the Busselton Entertainment Arts Cultural Hub will help revitalise the struggling Busselton CBD
Camera IconCouncillors say the Busselton Entertainment Arts Cultural Hub will help revitalise the struggling Busselton CBD

City of Busselton councillors have defended their vote to approve the Busselton Entertainment Arts Cultural Hub saying it will revitalise the Busselton CBD.

This week the City wrote to the Minister for Local Government David Templeman, who dismissed a push to allow a special electors’ meeting within the COVID-19 environment.

The City is working towards a similar meeting to consult the community, but Cr Kate Cox said constructing the BEACH and redeveloping Mitchell Park was a “positive start” in the revitalisation of the CBD.

“I have owned a small business in the Busselton CBD for four years, and in that time I have witnessed first-hand a steady decline of retail sales,” she said.

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“The Busselton CBD is no longer perceived to be a shopping destination.”

She said her aim as a councillor was to be proactive in revitalising Busselton and she “strongly and unequivocally” believed the BEACH development would provide connectivity between the foreshore and the CBD. “Now more that ever, post COVID-19, this revitalisation is imperative to keeping local businesses operating and viable,” Cr Cox said.

The designs include a laneway bar and cafe, with the City hoping to reactivate its dormant nightlife, but Action Group spokesman Gordon Bleechmore said the bar and cafe were at the expense of the ArtGeo gallery, and local shops had been bled dry by recent rate increases.

“You see the empty shops and shop owners bleeding on the back of rate increases over the previous years,” he said. “It’s time to stop major infrastructure development that will run at a loss and let local businesses recover as we enter into a recession.”

Cr Lyndon Miles said he had spoken to multiple schools which supported the project so they could hold local formals.

“I’ve had the school captain of Cape Naturaliste College ask me where in the city is somewhere large enough to hold 500 people for their graduation because they have nowhere to go,” he said.

“All the high schools could use this for formals and graduations, and it activates a very quiet part of town.”

City of Busselton Mayor Grant Henley said the City was progressing with the performing arts and convention centre project to tender in order to meet its timeline commitment for the $10.35 million funding committed by the Federal Government.

“There is a stop point that will occur later this year when council decides whether to award a tender,” he said.

The City is currently conducting its Cultural Interpretation Strategy Survey. Have your say on the $30.3 million project and councillors’ opinions by completing the survey, which closes on August 6, at yoursay.busselton.wa.gov.au/pac.

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