Future Ipswich Civic Centre expansion to be investigated

An upgrade and expansion of Ipswich Civic Centre will be investigated by council as part of a review of how council can deliver better spaces for the city’s arts and cultural community.

Council has engaged CBRE’s Development and Infrastructure division to review the current creative, performing arts and event markets post the COVID-19 pandemic to understand how best to service the needs of this growing sector as our city continues to expand.

Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding said CBRE would analyse the current demand for the city’s civic, performing arts and event spaces, to help inform a future decision on potentially upgrading and or expanding the existing facility in the city centre.

“Council’s Interim Administration postponed planning and development of a Performing Arts Centre in 2018 and this was closely followed by the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mayor Harding said.

“The cost of executing the existing plans for an Ipswich Performing Arts Centre would be well in excess of $200 million in today’s dollars.

“At the time, there was no appetite from the Federal, State and Local governments to commit significant funding to the concept. This was before the added financial pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic and the state’s ongoing flood recovery.

“Council will recommence the investigation into how we best foster and support our city’s vibrant arts and cultural landscape, and whether an expansion and redesign of the Ipswich Civic Centre would meet this demand.

“Our city’s rapid population growth requires ongoing investment in social and cultural infrastructure to continue to position Ipswich as an innovative, inclusive and culturally diverse city.”

Council’s Arts and Cultural Strategy 2018-2023 encompasses all creative disciplines and branches including performing, visual, screen, digital and literary arts as well as cultural heritage collections.

In collaboration with our local arts and cultural sector, council will focus resources and actions to the following goals:

  1. Embracing and celebrating our cultural heritage and diversity.
  2. Activating and engaging the whole of our city.
  3. Supporting and increasing engagement with our creative community.
  4. Building creative capacity among our young people.
  5. Listening and providing leadership for the cultural development of our community.

To learn more about council’s Arts and Cultural Strategy 2018-2023, click here.

Community, Culture, Arts and Sport Committee Chairperson Councillor Andrew Fechner said an updated analysis of the city’s performance spaces was needed to shape a potential expansion of the Ipswich Civic Centre and deliver fit-for-purpose event and performance facilities for the city.

“The Ipswich Civic Centre is our city’s premier performing arts and function space, and, like many residents, I have wonderful memories of enjoying shows and performances there over the years,” Cr Fechner said.

“However, council has forecast that the almost fifty-year-old building will require significant future capital and maintenance works to ensure that the centre is able to meet contemporary requirements.

“These costs will be factored into council’s pre-planning process with CBRE, who are well-placed to provide valuable insight given their experience with projects including the Cairns Convention Centre, Home of the Arts on the Gold Coast, Brisbane Live and Parramatta Square Redevelopment (Sydney).”

The outcomes of the analysis work by CBRE are expected to be reported to council early in the new year.

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