Arts centre mothballed
SEVEN COUNCILLORS VOTE NOT TO PROCEED
THE proposed $100 million Joondalup performing arts centre will not progress to the design development phase.
Many councillors at Tuesday night’s meeting said it was one of the biggest decisions the current council had ever faced.
After more than an hour-and-ahalf of debate, seven councillors voted against proceeding the project to a design and development phase, while six voted in favour.
Though many councillors agreed the City of Joondalup would benefit from a performing arts facility, the majority believed it would be “fiscally irresponsible” to proceed with the major project committee’s recommendation.
Councillor Russell Poliwka, who presented a 597-signature petition against the proposed performing arts centre, said he was disappointed the project was “this far down the track” – it was first proposed in 1992 – and there was still no external funding.
“We are talking about funding 100 per cent and that doesn’t gel with me,” he said. “Joondalup ratepayers should not be carrying the burden for a regional facility.”
Also speaking against the recommendation, Cr Nige Jones said he was concerned about the low number of community consultation submissions received.
Over six weeks, the City received 1542 responses, with 48 per cent in support and 41.9 per cent opposed. Of these, 1289 were from City residents or ratepayers, with 40.4 per cent in support and 49.4 per cent opposed.
Mayor Troy Pickard urged the council to progress to the detailed design stage at a cost of $1.7 million so it could get a more accurate idea of costs, which would put the City in a better position to lobby for State and Federal funding.
He said the project was estimated to cost rateable properties $55 per year for 40 years, which was “reasonable and reflected other subsidies made in the City”. These included $98 a year per property for hire facilities, $99 for libraries, $37 for events and $17 for infant health.
“If you choose not to proceed, you are mothballing the centre,” he said.
“We have six strategies formally adopted by the council that are underpinned by the performing arts centre. These will need radical transformation and we will need to divert our energy to another vision.”
Cr Kerry Hollywood said the council needed “a very good reason to turn our backs” on the project.
She reminded councillors that the cost of the project had already been factored into its 20-Year Strategic Financial Plan and “would not have an additional impact on rates”.
But fellow ward Cr Tom McLean said that was a plan, not a budget.
“It is ratepayers’ money and we must do what the ratepayers need, not what we want,” he said.
Since 2009, the City has spent $2.4m on the project.
The Joondalup Performing Arts Centre has stalled following a narrow vote.