BETTER THAN EVER: Mayor Andrew Willcox with Cr John Collins outside the Proserpine Entertainment Centre, which will be stronger and safer than it was previously once the restoration works are completed.
BETTER THAN EVER: Mayor Andrew Willcox with Cr John Collins outside the Proserpine Entertainment Centre, which will be stronger and safer than it was previously once the restoration works are completed.

Funds set stage for reopening next year

AN OPENING is on the horizon next year for the cyclone-damaged Proserpine Entertainment Centre after the council's lobbying efforts produced a $500,000 State Government commitment yesterday to assist with the restoration.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the funding would go a long way to revitalising the entertainment centre, which has been closed since sustaining extensive damage during category 4 Cyclone Debbie.

The Premier said the $500,000 funding was part of $110 million committed by her government to help Queensland communities recover and build resilience after Debbie.

"The extended closure of this important community asset has adversely impacted the arts and cultural landscape of the region, with the centre forced to relocate events to the RSL or high school,” MsPalaszczuk said.

"I know its reopening will be well-received by locals and tourists, who will again have access to high-quality arts and culture in the Whitsundays.”

Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor Andrew Willcox said the funding was a welcome boost and would help the council bridge the significant gap between its insurance claim and the major works required to ensure the entertainment centre continued to be a quality cultural hub for the community.

"From day one as mayor, I have made it my aim to form a relationship with all tiers of government to ensure the Whitsunday region secures our fair share of funding,” CrWillcox said.

"I am proud the collaboration between council and the Palaszczuk Government has delivered bonus funding for the PEC.”

Division Three councillor John Collins said restoring the Proserpine Entertainment Centre to its former glory as soon as possible was important for local residents.

"The PEC is such a vital community hub for our residents, hosting live performances, school events, movies, conferences and functions,” Cr Collins said.

The entertainment centre suffered extensive damage during the cyclone last March, particularly to its timber flooring, ceilings, electrics and air conditioning.

To add to the restoration woes, during reconstruction works a number of major problems came to light regarding air conditioning and fire safety issues.

These issues were historical design flaws from the 1990s that were only discovered during repair works by the insurance panel builder.

Cr Willcox said the council was tackling the new issues head-on and was determined that all flaws be addressed during the reconstruction works.

"The unexpected extra costs the council now face include air-conditioning and roofing upgrades ($200,000), audio and lighting upgrades ($315,000), fire safety improvements ($500,000) and driveway resurfacing ($50,000).

"Our aim is to ensure the PEC is brought up to current industry standards and is repaired stronger and better to ensure no issues in the near future.”

The insurance panel builder has estimated works will take 35 weeks to complete.


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