Take a bow Prossie! After five years of planning, consultation and construction, the Whitsunday Region gave a round of applause today as the stage doors were officially opened to the $18.8 million Proserpine Entertainment Centre (PEC).
After the original centre was damaged beyond repair during TC Debbie in March 2017, the Queensland Government committed $13.725 million to the new state of the art PEC while the Australian Government provided $5 million towards the project from the Building our Regions – Community Development Grants fund
Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor Andrew Willcox said it was a great day for Proserpine and the region as the PEC was the cultural heart and soul of the town.
“I know the rebuild seemed to go on forever, but I’ll tell you what, the end result is a ripper and the new PEC will be a landmark facility in Proserpine for many years to come,” he said.
“The Proserpine Entertainment Centre has been sorely missed and it’s great we can now welcome the return of live shows, concerts, musicals, theatre and functions for all Whitsunday residents.
“This has been a long journey and I am proud of the advocacy and collaboration between all levels of government to deliver such an important regional facility.
“A huge thanks to Annastacia Palaszczuk, and the Queensland Government and Federal Member for Dawson, George Christensen for answering my pleas for financial assistance to rebuild bigger and better.
“We were able to source the best sound, the best stage area and access, plus the best lighting and this should allow us to attract world class acts for our community to enjoy,” Mayor Willcox said.
“The construction project created over 65 jobs for local tradies, injecting well-earned dollars back into the local community plus up to 10 permanent jobs going forward.
“I know myself and Division 3 Councillor John Collins probably made pests of ourselves by constantly knocking on doors to lobby for the funding, but standing here today in this amazing facility makes it worthwhile.
“I am proud we were able to facilitate local government, state government and federal government working together to deliver such a great outcome for our region,” he said.
Federal Member for Dawson, George Christensen said the lifestyle benefits of the new centre were obvious but the project also supported 65 jobs during construction and will continue to support 27 jobs on an ongoing base.
“Investing in this kind of infrastructure not only boosts lifestyle opportunities but helps to keep locals employed,” he said.
“Looking at the damaged entertainment centre after Cyclone Debbie in 2017 was heart-breaking but it was only when the full extent of the damage was known that the reconstruction project took on a much larger scale.
“While the damage was devastating for locals, we have not only rebuilt but produced something that takes the centre to a new level.”
An excited Division 3 Councillor John Collins said the PEC is such an important hub for the local community.
“Before and after, it’s like comparing a Holden Kingswood to a Ferrari…the greatest thing to happen to Prossie since Sandy Munro and Joe Afribo introduced sliced bread to Proserpine!
“Prior to the final design we consulted with all stakeholders and their feedback was passed on to the architects to ensure we were building a facility designed for our community to enjoy,” he said.
The new facility encompasses 380 tiered seats in a retractable seating system and provides flexibility for up to 500 people seated indoors and outdoors as a multi-purpose use facility.
The project also boasts state of the art theatre and lighting fit-out, maintained by a solar panel system which will reduce overall operating costs.
The open plan design allows the Auditorium to connect seamlessly with a landscaped external space so that the capacity of the building can be further increased for large functions, weddings, outdoor events and annual ceremonies like Anzac Day.
The PEC will be open for the local community to have a walkthrough and check out the new facility during the Proserpine Street Fair on March 27.
Source: Whitsunday Regional Council