The Gympie Civic Centre is in line for funding.
The Gympie Civic Centre is in line for funding. Craig Warhurst

Funding sought for Civic Centre upgrade

GYMPIE Regional Council yesterday endorsed a funding bid for a major redevelopment of the Civic Centre that, if successful, will involve a full light and sound upgrade, refurbishment of the interior foyer, theatre, Fossickers room and Prospectors hall and an upgrade to the courtyard linking the Civic Centre and Senior Citizens Centre.

Council staff and councillors were yesterday quietly confident of securing the money for the $550,000 upgrade, with $350,000 sought from the Federal Government's Regional Development Australia Fund and an allocation from the GRC of $200,000.

Major Projects and Business Activities councillor Mark McDonald said the redevelopment would upgrade the centre to a modern-looking building equipped with the latest digital technology, with key stakeholders invited to provide input into the proposed designs.

"The Civic Centre is a key council facility that is used for more than 180 functions a year, however with the exception of a bar and kitchen upgrade in 2006 and the replacement of carpet in 2008, little has been done to the original structure since it was officially opened in 1977," Cr McDonald said.

"This redevelopment will ensure that we continue to provide a modern and highly efficient facility to meet the needs of the Gympie community and attract both local and visiting user groups to increase the number of accessible activities on offer.

"The RDAF presented council an opportunity to source external funds to upgrade the Civic Centre, which is beyond the scope of council's budget, and we have today endorsed the funding application and the investment of additional funds by council to see this major redevelopment come to fruition."

Cr McDonald said the redevelopment is expected to result in a 30% increase in the number of events held at the centre, to 250 a year, which will provide significant employment and training opportunities for locals.

"In addition to jobs created during the redevelopment, the increase in the number of functions and events will require staffing and in doing so will establish a sustainable job creation and supply chain," said Cr McDonald.

"We also anticipate the existing training opportunities in place for students in the areas of light and sound, front of house and backstage operations will be expanded to include training in areas such as live theatre production and events."