Council considering two locations for performing arts centre

IPSWICH City Council is considering two city locations to construct a 1500-seat performing arts centre.

A site in Bell St where the defunct Transit Centre is situated has been earmarked while the Workshops Rail Museum precinct has also been slated as a possible location for the venue.

Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale went to the last mayoral election with the performing arts centre as his key platform.

A performing arts centre would not just be a major coup for the performing and visual arts but would also be a venue for business conferences and other major functions that would have flow-on benefits for the city.

Cr Pisasale said he favours the CBD location as the preferred option. He insists the infrastructure is long overdue.

"Gough Whitlam opened the civic centre and we haven't had funding for that sort of infrastructure since," Cr Pisasale said.

"One of our priorities is to be showing a business case for a performing arts complex for a growing city."

Cr Andrew Antoniolli said his preference was for the CBD location in Bell St.

"My view is that the workshops does need a function centre, but a performing arts centre needs to be next to public transport," he said.

"We want our facility to attract visitors from all over south-east Queensland, as the civic centre does."

Blair MP Shayne Neumann secured $500,000 from the former Labor government for a business case analysis and project development study for a performing arts complex.



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Mr Neumann said he was open to either proposed site as a location and stressed the benefits it would bring the city.

"What we need is co-operation from federal, state and local levels of government to do this," he said.

"The project will create hundreds of jobs on a permanent basis in Ipswich because you would have a relocation of arts groups."

Workshops Rail Museum director Andrew Moritz said a performing arts centre had been discussed for the precinct.

Mayoral balls with 500 guests and other major functions have been held at the museum in the past so it is a site that can handle an arts centre.

"As part of the vision planning process we undertook a few years ago for the precinct, developing that type of (performing arts) facility at this site was highlighted as a possibility," Mr Moritz said.

"My view is that the potential for the further development of this site for a range of purposes would be a great thing for the museum and a great thing for Ipswich.

"What exactly that is and how it is to be done is a subject for much more discussion. The city has come a long way with its tourism, arts, culture and recreation offer and there are some great opportunities in the future."

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