Study supports Entertainment, Convention and Exhibition Centre

Cr Debbie Blumel believes that the facility would provide a major boost to the region’s economy and create thousands of jobs.

A major feasibility study released by Council today has found a 4500 seat Entertainment, Convention and Exhibition Centre in the civic and cultural heart of the new Maroochydore CBD is the smart choice for the future of the Sunshine Coast.
Major Projects Councillor Debbie Blumel said the Ranbury Management Group study found such a facility would provide a major boost to the region’s economy and create thousands of jobs.
“The study showed that during construction, the facility would have the potential to pump nearly $500 million into the Sunshine Coast economy and generate nearly 2000 jobs,” Cr Blumel said.
“Once operational, the centre is estimated to generate more than $53 million a year for the economy and create more than 300 full time jobs.
“Convention and business tourist visitors on average spend five times as much as leisure tourists -and where better to go in the world for a convention than the Sunshine Coast.”
“The 27,000 m2 centre would also help to attract bands and shows from around the world – providing locals with the opportunity to see some great acts in their own backyard.
“The securing of Horton Park provides an important opportunity to create the coast’s future CBD.
“To make the most of it, the precinct needs a draw card like an Entertainment, Convention and Exhibition Centre to generate jobs, investment and confidence.
“The report said the centre is unlikely to open before 2020 – but I will do everything in my power to try and deliver it earlier.
“Council will need to pursue funding streams, in particular the state government, to help fund the centre’s quarter of a billion dollar development and construction costs.”
The Ranbury Group considered three options and determined:
1. A Performing Arts Centre – would deliver no economic benefit, cost jobs and cannibalise other facilities such as the Caloundra Events Centre, The J and the Nambour Civic Centre.
2. A stand alone Entertainment, Convention and Exhibition Centre – could be under-utilised and would fall short by $139 million of the economic boost generated by option (3)
3. An Entertainment, Convention and Exhibition Centre in Maroochydore as part of a larger civic and cultural precinct within the new CBD has the potential to breathe life into the area, create thousands of jobs, provide half a billion boost to construction and new entertainment opportunities.
Council will now consult broadly with business and community about the proposal and develop a funding and delivery strategy for the Centre within the next 12 months.
A million dollars was provided for the study through the Federal Government’s Better Regions Program. (please see attachment for details of the study)
The Sunshine Coast Entertainment, Convention and Exhibition Centre proposal includes:

  •  a main auditorium with flexible walls and seating systems which allow the auditorium to offer capacity between 1000–4500 people.
  • a flat floor exhibition hall with flexible walls allowing expansions and reductions in room size to a maximum of 3000sq metres
  • a full commercial catering kitchen (plus satellite kitchens)
  • meeting rooms (between 12 and 15) with capacities ranging from 20 –360 people
  • provision for more than 700 car parks (this would be in addition to significant additional on-street and off-street car parking spaces available within easy walking distance of the centre to cater for peak entertainment event demands, generally in non-business hours).

A centre that has the following functionality:

  • an arena to accommodate between:
  • 1000–4500 people in theatre mode, but is capable of being divided into three smaller modes ( 2 x 1,000 people and 1 x 2,500 people in theatre mode)
  • 1000 people in banquet mode
  • 100 booths in exhibition mode.
  • an exhibition hall to accommodate between:
  • 500–2500 people in banquet mode
  • between 300–1250 people in classroom mode
  • between 35–180 booths in exhibition mode.
  • a number of smaller meeting rooms to provide capacity for:
  • 60–360 people in theatre mode
  • 50–260 people in banquet mode
  • 30–180 people in classroom mode
  • 20–60 people in boardroom mode.

It will be located in close proximity to:

  • a civic plaza and parkland (these spaces should adjoin the centre with potential to be used in conjunction with the centre—for example, for outdoor exhibition)
  • retail and commercial uses including a hotel
  • community and cultural uses which may include library (learning centre), art gallery spaces, community meeting and performance spaces, council customer service centre, enterprise incubator, child care centre, markets, cafes, design centre, recording studio and recreation areas and playgrounds.
Comparison of options considered

Item Option 1Performing Arts Centre Option 2Stand alone Entertainment, Convention and Exhibition Centre Preferred OptionEntertainment, Convention and Exhibition Centre located within a larger civic and cultural precinct
Construction Economic Impact $316M $354M $493.9M
Annual Cash Operating Loss (i.e. excludes depreciation, interest and tax) -$1.5M -$0.8M -$1.0M
Annual Economic Impact* $1.4M $52.6M $53.3M
Regional Annual Incomes -$0.2M $12.9M $12.9M
Regional Employment negative 307  jobs 307 jobs
Social Impact Insignificant or minor Minor to major Minor to Major
Demand Timeframe 2030 Now Now