Should project be beached?

Jackson Lavell-LeeBusselton Dunsborough Times
Email Jackson Lavell-Lee
A poll recently conducted by the Times found 75 per cent of locals were against building the Busselton Entertainment Arts Cultural Hub despite counsellors voting to commit to the project.
Camera IconA poll recently conducted by the Times found 75 per cent of locals were against building the Busselton Entertainment Arts Cultural Hub despite counsellors voting to commit to the project. Credit: supplied

Busselton city councillors have come under fire for committing to the city’s $30.3 million BEACH project with a recent poll conducted by the Times finding 75 per cent of people are against the development.

More than 900 people responded to the community poll which asked ratepayers whether the proposed development was too expensive and whether the town needed the performing arts centre.

More than 60 people commented suggesting the City needed to conduct further community consultation, in new mediums, in light of the COVID-19 recession and the bumped-up expenses of the project.

However, Busselton’s deputy mayor Kelly Hick said the council had consulted the community over a 10-year period with a performing arts centre regularly identified as a priority.

“The council acknowledges that our community needs more information about how the Busselton Performing Arts and Convention Centre will benefit everyone,” she said.

“We appreciate that the community needs to be further informed about the economic and social benefits of the project and the opportunities that may be lost if we do not proceed at this point in time.”

The City of Busselton will open an information site and chat forum on its website this week where the community can have direct conversation with staff and councillors.

Meanwhile the city released a tender inviting expressions of interest on the construction of the performing arts centre last week.

Vasse MLA Libby Mettam said the project would run at more than a $1 million loss within four years, further burdening ratepayers.

“There has been no compelling community feedback to suggest that we need to invest in any kind of loss-making infrastructure that would be a burden on ratepayers at this time,” she said.

“The question then that should asked is ‘does the community want to spend at least $1.2mill a year to prop up this project or are there other priorities’?

“It’s extraordinary that the city is borrowing funds at this time for an asset which is predicted to lose at least a million dollars a year in four years time.”

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