It’s been a big month for planning, with councillors and staff burning the midnight oil ahead of the public exhibition of our Delivery Program and Operating Plan.
The construction of a four-screen cinema complex in the Kempsey CBD remains one of the most exciting projects on our horizon and one that I think will have a huge impact for all generations over years to come.
While this project is ground-breaking for how local government traditionally operates, our advisors at the Office of Local Government indicate that councils all around the State are seeking partnerships with private industry to deliver facilities their communities desire.
Complex negotiations are continuing with our cinema partners Majestic Cinemas Gowing Bros. The federal government has contributed a $2 million grant, and council is investing $2 million of its reserves into the cinema construction.
As a partner in this business council will be looking for a return on investment from the cinema operations. Market research, asking the people of our shire their views, along with our growing tourism visitation, indicates that the cinema will get good patronage and should make a profit. That can’t be proven till the facility exists.
Similar to building sporting or other community facilities, council sees the cinema as an investment in our future. It will create a social and cultural hub for our community and particularly our young people, families and retirees. It will be a great drawcard for people to invest and live in our area.
This project continues to undergo the highest levels of scrutiny and assessment at every step. While there is a risk council may not achieve full financial return on this project, a cinema in the Kempsey CBD will strengthen our commercial environment and stimulate growth.
For me personally, the impact of not investing in our economic and social prosperity would be far more damaging than partnering with private industry to fill a gap in the services our community wants and needs. Hopefully construction dates are just around the corner!