Coffs Harbour Entertainment Venue (CHEV) Scoping Study

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

Project update - September 2022

The Coffs Harbour Entertainment Venue (CHEV) Scoping Study aims to provide Council with development recommendations for an indoor entertainment venue that will deliver the best outcomes for the Coffs Harbour region.

In late 2021, Council adopted the CHEV Scoping Study – Functional Brief, which confirmed a 700 seat indoor venue with a minimum footprint of 2,500 square metres to allow for a flexible performance space which can accommodate a variety of performance configurations, accompanying support spaces and provide reasonable economic returns. The Functional Brief was then used to progress work on the Site Analysis.

The need for the CHEV project is well documented and has had significant and targeted community and stakeholder consultation over the last few years. Current cost estimates for a Coffs Harbour Entertainment Venue (CHEV) are:

  • Capital cost of $70m (based on 2019 figures), including parking but excluding escalation and contingency funds;
  • Operating cost, including depreciation, of $2.5m a year (based on 2022 figures).

In light of the recent capital projects deferrals, considered by Council at its meeting of 30 August 2022, there will not be funds available to progress the CHEV project in the next few years. Council at it's 26 September Meeting resolved to:

  • Note the Coffs Harbour Entertainment Venue Scoping Study – Site Analysis.
  • Note that given the focus on financial sustainability, the Coffs Harbour Entertainment Venue project will not be further advanced until Council’s Long Term Financial Plan (General Fund) is in surplus, currently anticipated in the 2027/28 year.
  • Defer the return of 2 Castle Street for sale pending an analysis of alternate options.

Background

Entertainment and performing arts spaces in the Coffs Harbour area have been considered by Council and the community over many years, with different proposals and plans for various types of venues in several locations.

We know that the community would like an additional indoor entertainment and performing arts venue. The City Centre Masterplan 2031 identifies the City Centre area for entertainment and performing arts infrastructure.

This matter was considered by Council at its Ordinary Meeting of 10 September 2020 where it adopted the Stage 2(a) Issues and Options Paper for Performing Arts Spaces (Indoor and Outdoor) Final Report and resolved to commence to Stage 2(b) Feasibility Study to determine the most suitable location, operational and financial model for an Indoor Performing Arts Centre within the City Centre.

Stage 2(b) has been titled Coffs Harbour Entertainment Venue (CHEV) Scoping Study to reflect the venue’s entertainment outcomes and the work required to scope the venue requirements.

Project update - September 2022

The Coffs Harbour Entertainment Venue (CHEV) Scoping Study aims to provide Council with development recommendations for an indoor entertainment venue that will deliver the best outcomes for the Coffs Harbour region.

In late 2021, Council adopted the CHEV Scoping Study – Functional Brief, which confirmed a 700 seat indoor venue with a minimum footprint of 2,500 square metres to allow for a flexible performance space which can accommodate a variety of performance configurations, accompanying support spaces and provide reasonable economic returns. The Functional Brief was then used to progress work on the Site Analysis.

The need for the CHEV project is well documented and has had significant and targeted community and stakeholder consultation over the last few years. Current cost estimates for a Coffs Harbour Entertainment Venue (CHEV) are:

  • Capital cost of $70m (based on 2019 figures), including parking but excluding escalation and contingency funds;
  • Operating cost, including depreciation, of $2.5m a year (based on 2022 figures).

In light of the recent capital projects deferrals, considered by Council at its meeting of 30 August 2022, there will not be funds available to progress the CHEV project in the next few years. Council at it's 26 September Meeting resolved to:

  • Note the Coffs Harbour Entertainment Venue Scoping Study – Site Analysis.
  • Note that given the focus on financial sustainability, the Coffs Harbour Entertainment Venue project will not be further advanced until Council’s Long Term Financial Plan (General Fund) is in surplus, currently anticipated in the 2027/28 year.
  • Defer the return of 2 Castle Street for sale pending an analysis of alternate options.

Background

Entertainment and performing arts spaces in the Coffs Harbour area have been considered by Council and the community over many years, with different proposals and plans for various types of venues in several locations.

We know that the community would like an additional indoor entertainment and performing arts venue. The City Centre Masterplan 2031 identifies the City Centre area for entertainment and performing arts infrastructure.

This matter was considered by Council at its Ordinary Meeting of 10 September 2020 where it adopted the Stage 2(a) Issues and Options Paper for Performing Arts Spaces (Indoor and Outdoor) Final Report and resolved to commence to Stage 2(b) Feasibility Study to determine the most suitable location, operational and financial model for an Indoor Performing Arts Centre within the City Centre.

Stage 2(b) has been titled Coffs Harbour Entertainment Venue (CHEV) Scoping Study to reflect the venue’s entertainment outcomes and the work required to scope the venue requirements.

  • Project put on hold

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    Further progress on an Entertainment Venue in Coffs Harbour City Centre has been put on hold until City of Coffs Harbour’s General Fund is in surplus, which is expected to be in the 2027-2028 financial year.

    “Last month, Council adopted a revised capital works program with the aims of maintaining financial sustainability, setting an achievable level of deliverability and realigning expectations to a more sustainable level,” said Natalia Cowley, City of Coffs Harbour’s General Manager.

    “Fundamentally, we took a long hard look at what kind of capital program – which not only includes construction, but also ongoing operations and depreciation of any such assets - we can resource.

    “While no one is denying the merits and benefits that a Coffs Harbour Entertainment Venue could offer our community, the significant capital and operational costs mean that we should look at this project again when we’re in a surplus financial position.”

    Current cost estimates for a Coffs Harbour Entertainment Venue (CHEV) are:

    • Capital cost of $70m (based on 2019 figures), including parking but excluding escalation and contingency funds;
    • Operating cost, including depreciation, of $2.5m a year (based on 2022 figures).

    A previous stage of the project’s Scoping Study – the Functional Brief – established that the proposed Venue would need to be a 2,500 square metre multi-functional hub, able to accommodate an audience of up to 820 people in a flexible, inclusive space.

    Following Council’s adoption of the Functional Brief in September 2021, a Site Analysis of potential locations within the City Centre was undertaken.

    In total, 13 initial sites were considered. These were further examined and three preferred sites received more detailed site analysis and testing. Ultimately, the study highlighted the current Council Chambers site at 2 Castle Street as the preferred location for the CHEV.

    “None of this work will be wasted,” added Ms Cowley.“The CHEV Scoping Study project has provided us with with an endorsed functional brief and financial information.

    “However, based on the fiscal environment and financial capacity of the organisation, it’s more prudent to halt the project at this time.”

    Council agreed to put the project on hold and also to retain the Council Chambers building at 2 Castle Street pending an analysis of alternate options to its sale as previously planned under the Yarrila Place funding model.

  • Coffs Harbour Entertainment Venue Size and Scope Revealed

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    The ideal Coffs Harbour Entertainment Venue (CHEV) has been revealed to be a multi-functional hub that could hold a wide variety of performances and events including music, eisteddfods, dance, comedy, theatre, movies, conferences, expos and more.

    An outline of the size and community requirements the CHEV would need to meet were contained in the first stage of a Scoping Study for the project – The Functional Brief - which was adopted at the 23 September 2021 Council Meeting.

    A venue of this size and capacity would ensure it could attract a wide range of touring acts, accommodate special local performances and provide reasonable economic returns.

    Developed through consultation with industry experts and potential users, the Functional Brief recommends a minimum size of 2,500 square metres and a flexible performance space with raked seating for up to 700 people, or 820 in both standing and seating format.

    Now that the venue uses and size has been established, the Scoping Study can move to the next stage to confirm an appropriate location in the City Centre.

    The Functional Brief can be downloaded from the Document Library to understand industry feedback, examples of similar regional case studies, and what this means for the venue.

    Click on the video below for an overview of the Functional Brief recommendations and examples of future uses.

    Click here for latest media release.

  • Industry engagement is underway

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    The first phase of the Study is underway with industry stakeholders involved in developing a “Preliminary Functional Brief”.

    The Project team are consulting with a range of community performance and cultural groups as well as local and national promoters and producers.

    This Functional Brief is a key piece of work that scopes the design and size of spaces for a complete range of entertainment and social experiences. This includes all aspects of the venue from the entrance to foyers, amenities, bars and ancillary spaces, the performance spaces as well as artists and technical staff backstage.

  • Appointment of CHEV Scoping Study Project Team

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    Council has appointed a multi-disciplinary team made up of Hawkridge Entertainment Services, Woolgoolga-based Locale Consulting and internationally renowned architects Scott Carver, after a month-long tender process.

    This team has a strong track record of cultural infrastructure feasibility studies, as well as designing, building and managing live music and arts venues and know what makes a successful entertainment venue work.

    They have excellent networks with a range of producers, promoters, venue managers and more recently with the Coffs Harbour community on performing arts spaces and facility site studies.

  • Issues and Options Paper for Performing Arts Spaces 2020 (Needs Analysis)

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    supporting image

    The Issues and Options Paper for Performing Arts Space (Indoor and Outdoor) was adopted by Council on 10 September 2020. The Draft Paper was open for public exhibition period between December 2019 - February 2020.

    This Paper (included in this page's Document Library) provides an assessment of current performance and entertainment spaces / venues in the LGA and includes information about venue requirements, including actions and opportunities to meet current and future demand.

    The key finding within this Paper is that there is an established need, including strong stakeholder and community support to construct an Indoor Performing Arts Centre with a capacity between 600-1000 seats.

    The construction of a new indoor venue of this size requires further analysis, including a greater understanding of the operational costs to Council. At this Council Meeting, Councillors agreed to progress a study to scope the venue requirements, building footprint, determine the most suitable location within the City Centre and the operational and funding strategy.

Page last updated: 30 Sep 2022, 03:11 PM