The new Cowes Cultural and Community Centre could be open in early 2022, with the council this week securing crucial funding from the State Government.
The Government yesterday announced a $2.5 million grant for the project through its Growing Suburbs Fund, which was expanded earlier this year to include peri-urban councils such as Bass Coast.
The announcement has cleared the way for demolition of the old cultural centre to begin immediately. Construction of the new, expanded cultural centre will start in early 2021 and is expected to take 12 to 14 months.
“Projects like this will help keep local jobs secure and create new and sustainable employment opportunities for the community.”
The new centre incorporates a theatre/cinema, function room, library and meeting rooms. At $19 million, it’s the costliest project undertaken by the council. The council has allocated $4 million from council reserves and will fund the balance from borrowings.
The project has a troubled history with decades of debate, false hopes and broken dreams.
The 2012-16 council voted to proceed with a $17 million refurbishment of the centre but one of the first decisions of the current council, in December 2016, was to shelve the then $17 million refurbishment project.
Last October, councillors opted to replace rather than refurbish the centre. They were keen to start demolition before the forthcoming election to ensure there was no going back by a new intake of councillors.
Cr Tessari said the new centre would bring together the cultural and social aspirations of the community, draw visitors to showcase the history and culture of the region and provide a venue for a huge range community activities and events.
Visit Cowes Cultural and Community Centre for more information on the project.