The council’s mayor and general manager will scout for more funds to pay for the city’s performing arts venue.
While some is already in the bank, Bob Kirk and Warwick Bennett will be asking the area’s big operators to contribute.
“We have five meetings in four weeks with significant businesses in this region, like the quarries, and we’ll be discussing with them the opportunity of giving back to the community through a Veolia Mulwaree Trust style set up,” Mr Bennett said.
“They are very generous people and I’m confident they will talk. We hope to announce something before Christmas.”
Such contributions are just part of the funding suggestion to make up the required $11.4 million.
A $1m federal grant is locked in along with $800,000 in proceeds from the Lilac Time Hall sale in 2001. A further $100,000 will come from the council’s building reserve account; $1.1m from a property sales reserve fund; $4.5m in loans; $1.9m in cash from the general fund, taken from the 2015/16 $3.5m surplus; and $2m in ‘other grants,’ possibly the State Government.
Mr Bennett said the council still had to prove it was ‘fit for the future’ but he was confident of doing so.
This would entitle it to low-interest State Government loans. A $450,000 loan at 3.5pc per annum would mean $315,000 in interest payments but Mr Bennett expected 1.5 to 2pc rates. After 2022/23 when the Veolia Arena loan was repaid, Veolia host fees could be used to pay the performing arts interest.
Until then, the money would come from the general fund and the surplus of Veolia host fees.
Some $100,000 will also come from the council’s sewer fund to relocate a sewer main, while furniture and fit-out costs could come from the contingencies or grants.
In coming weeks architects Brewster Hjorth will finalise a design and together with the working party, scrutinise every element to ensure it is the most cost effective option.
A development application is expected to be lodged in the next three weeks, thereby meeting the federal grant time-frame.
On Tuesday, councillors also endorsed employment of a full-time centre manager when complete to pull in business. In addition, expressions of interest will be called for an in-house cafe/ wine bar operator.
Construction is expected to be completed by December, 2018.