AFTER a $3.4 million makeover, the Bass Coast Shire Council aims to run the new-look Wonthaggi Union Community Arts Centre on a break-even basis.
That would be no mean feat with the shire estimating it “subsidises” the operation of the centre to the tune of $369,000 annually, excluding maintenance costs.
That, in a nutshell, is the over-view of an information session last week about the new draft business plan for the arts centre, by Outside the Square Creative Consulting, which was published by the shire recently.
Of course, they’ll have to apply for the necessary grant funding first before major works to all aspects of the 34 year old building can go ahead.
These aspects include $1m for façade and foyer, $657,000 for the auditorium including new seating and carpet, $724,500 backstage, and $491,000 building services.
The more pressing issue put to council representatives at the information session last Wednesday is the imminent closure of the cinema and the potential loss of projection equipment with the departure of Keith Stevens in October.
The important and on-going role for the cinema is addressed in the report.
The shire’s coordinator for recreation and culture Mark Lindsay said this issue was being addressed as a matter of urgency, a comment supported by the Mayor Cr Jordan Crugnale, who was also at the meeting. He noted however that there was no budget allocation made as the council wasn’t aware Mr Stevens was leaving at the time.
It is likely a proposal will be brought to council prior to the start of the pre-election Caretaker Period on September 21.
About 50 people attended the information session last Wednesday and a limited number of people asked shire officials questions online last Thursday, during a pre-arranged Facebook session.
Issues included:
• Pick-up and drop off area in front of the centre
• Favourable terms for local community groups
• Better frontage to the main street (visitors don’t even know the theatre is there)
• Little reference to the visual arts in report
• Side lane underutilised
If you would like to provide feedback on the draft Business Case, you can complete the online survey by 5pm, Monday, September 19 available at www.surveymonkey.com/r/wucac.