Start date set for long-awaited entertainment centre
WORK will soon begin on the $18 million Proserpine Entertainment Centre after a construction tender was awarded at Whitsunday Regional Council's ordinary meeting yesterday.
J Hutchinson Pty Ltd was awarded the $12.5 million construction contract for the PEC with the first sod to be turned in September.
The facility is expected to be completed by August next year, subject to weather.
Mayor Andrew Willcox said the news would be music to the ears of Whitsunday residents.
"It has been a rocky journey and saga over a number of years as we went from an initial $500,000 insurance repair bill to a building audit report indicating that demolishing the old facility and building a new one was the best outcome for the community," he said.
"The project will create over 40 jobs during the construction phase and the contractor has committed to prioritising local tradies wherever possible."
The new facility will include 380 tiered seats with a flexible design that can cater for up to 500 people seated indoors.
The $18 million price tag covers demolition, project design and delivery management and construction as well the installation of a solar system to reduce annual operating costs, additional lighting and specialist theatre fit-out.
Also included in the cost are construction contingency, Ergon costs for the undergrounding of power and removal of the current overhead powerlines and a pole-mounted transformer.
The open plan design will allow the performance hall to connect with a landscaped external space so the capacity of the building can be further increased for outdoor events and annual ceremonies like Anzac Day.
Higher than expected costs threw the project into "jeopardy", according to Cr Willcox, who at the time said feedback from tenderers had revealed the cost of the centre was higher than originally anticipated, hence the need for more funding.
However, Division 3 councillor John Collins said the project would be well worth the wait and congratulated Cr Willcox on securing more funding to help make it a reality.
"It's been a long time coming," he said.
"It's been something that's been sorely missed in Proserpine.
"This is just a blessing really.
"It's going to be great for the whole town.
"It's used for weddings, funerals and the facilities we're going to be having there (mean) it's going to be open for a whole lot more other stuff as well."