Community voices for Surf Coast Cultural Centre funding

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Surf Coast Shire Council hopes a swell of community support will help secure funding for the new Surf Coast Cultural Centre planned for Torquay.

The centre will provide new and expanded homes for the Australian National Surfing Museum, Torquay Library and Torquay Visitor Information Centre, integrating with the redeveloped Multi Arts Centre, MAC.

When built, the Surf Coast Cultural Centre will help drive recovery from the pandemic by helping a tourism sector hit hard by restricted travel.

It will provide a new and invigorating hub for one of regional Australia’s most creative regional communities, and a place for lifelong learning and social connections while celebrating the region’s First Nations cultural history and proud surfing heritage.

Council has approved concept plans and a business case for two-stage development of the centre.

Stage one, anticipated to start in 2024, will cost $36.8 million and include an expanded surfing museum with its internationally-significant collection, expanded library and visitor centre, café, and rehearsal and maker spaces, with the new building integrating with the existing redeveloped Multi Arts Centre, MAC.

Council has committed $8 million as well as the site, and is actively pursuing state and federal government grants and pledges to attract the $29 million needed to commence stage one.

“Community support will be key for us securing funding for this exciting project, which will have far-reaching impact benefiting generations,” Mayor Libby Stapleton said.

“With a federal election on the way we are asking people to let MPs, Ministers and candidates know how much the Surf Coast Cultural Centre will mean for our community.

“As well as providing cultural and social enrichment and a better home for our internationally-significant surfing collection it will aid our pandemic recovery and bring lasting economic benefit. A completed project will inject an additional $173 million in direct and indirect economic impact in the Great Ocean Road region, supporting more than 750 longer term jobs.

“We encourage community members to share their excitement about the many benefits the centre will bring, and to help let our politicians know how much it matters.”

People can find out how to engage local politicians and federal ministers directly from the website

Stage two of the project is expected to start in 2030 and cost $20 million, involving construction of a new 250-seat studio and purpose built gallery with technical and backstage areas for performers.

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