THE City of Greater Bendigo has issued a planning permit for the construction of a new $25.8 million, 1,000 seat community theatre at the historic Bendigo Gaol site.
Planned Victorian Civil Administrative Tribunal objections to the project didn't eventuate, allowing council to proceed.Mayor Alec Sandner said the granting of the planning permit is fantastic news for the community theatre project.
“While the project had received some objections these have been dealt with in the planning permit conditions," he said.
“We have received notification from VCAT that no requests for a hearing on the project were made in relation to the project, which is great news.
“This is an extremely important and exciting project for Greater Bendigo and I am pleased that the issuing of the planning permit now provides a green light for the project to move to its next stage.
“The next stage is the completion of the detailed designs and contract documentation to enable the Victorian Education Department, in association with the City of Greater Bendigo, to put the project out to tender and this is expected to happen before the end of the year.
“It is expected that construction will be underway in early 2013 for completion in 2014."
The project features a 1,000 seat, two-tier theatre complete with a large stage, fly tower and dressing rooms along with music, dance and drama studio spaces, general learning areas and a commercial learning kitchen.
The design includes an entry to the building through the former ‘Marong Cell Block’ which housed the original gallows. A silhouette of the original prison chapel is also a design highlight.The $25.8 M project is being funded by a $12.3M contribution from the Australian Government’s Regional Development Australia Fund, $8M (this figure includes additional refurbishment and demolition works) from the State Government’s Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, $3M from City of Greater Bendigo; and $3M from the State Government’s Regional Development Victoria – Regional Growth Fund.