THE Bass Coast Shire Council wants the upgraded Cowes Cultural and Community Centre to be seen as a “good place to be”, according to tender documents released last week.
The council is on the hunt for consultants to draw up plans for the centre so work can start and are willing to spend tens of thousands of dollars to get the plans drawn up quickly.
It’s expected that work on the plans will start in October and be completed in mid to late 2018.
Councillors will decide next month on how much community consultation will take place for venue.
If council opts for a plan which requires extensive community consultation, consultants would be required to talk to more than 20 representatives from council and other groups, including Phillip Island Nature Parks and Phillip Island Arts and Culture Committee.
The council wants the Cowes Cultural and Community Centre to be a “dynamic and interactive space that brings together the cultural and social aspirations of the community”, according to tender documents.
The consultants will have just three weeks to draw up plans for the first stage of the project.
The first stage is budgeted at $1.45 million and includes the construction of the lettable office space to Phillip Island Nature Parks (PINP), offices, a meeting room and amenities. The remainder of the project – the town hall/cinema, is budgeted at $12.5 million.
The leasing of office space to PINP was the topic of fierce debate during council’s 2017 budget process and at Community Connection Sessions earlier in the year.
At a council meeting in May, Cr Stephen Fullarton attempted to defer a decision into the leasing of office space to PINP.
But council officers say the community wants the project.
“There is strong community support for a dynamic interactive CCCC to serve the community for the next 20 years,” tender documents said.
“The CCCC will be the source of community pride, through a precinct that brings together the cultural and social aspirations of the community.”
Councillors will vote on approving a consultant for the project at a council meeting in October at the Heritage Centre in Cowes.
Drawing up the plans for Cowes