Second time lucky: Council firms up performing arts centre DA

Council planners have been doing more work on parking provisions for the proposed performing arts venue at the McDermott Centre (left).
Council planners have been doing more work on parking provisions for the proposed performing arts venue at the McDermott Centre (left).

The council is hoping have an answer on its proposed performing arts centre by late October/early November.

The Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP) deferred a decision on the $12.1 million project in July and requested more information on parking, heritage impacts, disabled access and building height. 

Councillors heard at their meeting on Tuesday that a revised planning assessment report would be completed within the next two weeks for the JRPP to review.

Planning director Louise Wakefield said this would clarify some 20 heritage issues that the Panel had highlighted.

“They want us to demonstrate the various options considered and why some were discounted to ensure they’re appropriate for the design,” she said.

Operations director Matt O’Rourke said some of this boiled down to interpretative material, ensuring items weren’t lost forever.

Following talks about the revised report, the council wants to secure a date for the JRPP to decide the project.

General manager Warwick Bennett said he hoped this would be in late October or early November. An independent Canberra-based planning consultant has been engaged to review the revised DA.

“We’re trying to address the JRPP’s concerns as clearly as we can so there’s no further need for consultation,” Mr Bennett said. 

“We hope there’s enough information there to appease everyone.”

Cr Margaret O’Neill asked that councillors receive the revised assessment and discuss it at a briefing session.

Meantime, Mr Bennett said planners had undertaken more work on parking provisions within 200 metres of the planned venue, at the McDermott Centre.

This included installation of four disabled parking spots immediately to the south that would only be used during events but would be available for general motorists during the day.

The council also plans to shift a bus stop near the corner of Auburn and Montague Street to immediately north of the McDermott Centre for use as a drop off point for people with disabilities when events are held. It could also be used for bus drop offs. 

“That means there will be no loss of business parking,” Mr Bennett said.