AN appeal to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal will not affect of federal funding for Bendigo's planned $26 million theatre, according to Labor Candidate for the federal seat of Bendigo, Lisa Chesters.
The City of Greater Bendigo council last night approved the plan.
However, four objections on planning and parking grounds could have seen the project end up in VCAT.
There was a fear the hold up could jeopardise the Federal Government's $12.3 million contribution.
However, Ms Chesters, below, met with Regional Australia, Local Government and Arts Minister, Simon Crean, in Canberra yesterday.
“Simon Crean has reassured me that if the VCAT appeal takes longer than anticipated it won’t affect the Federal Government’s funding for the project,” she said.
“While there is normally a strict time frame governing Commonwealth funding for projects, the Minister has said that any delays that are beyond the control of sponsoring organisations will not affect the availability of funding.”
Ms Chesters said this is will be a wonderful new facility for Bendigo and it is a shame that it may be unnecessarily delayed by less than a handful of objectors.
“I am very supportive of this exciting project and the people of Bendigo should not have to wait any longer than necessary for the completion of what will be a world class performing arts facility,” she said.
THE City of Greater Bendigo council has approved the planning permit for the $26 million theatre plan in the former Bendigo jail.
Council voted on Wednesday night to approve its own plan for a 1000-seat theatre, after Heritage Victoria threw its support behind the plan.
Whether the matter is resolved is in the hands of four objectors, who may take the project to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, citing parking and planning concerns.
Mayor Alec Sandner said he was pleased council approved the plans.
“This is another step forward towards the realisation of a long held civic dream for Bendigo," he said.
"This is a visionary project and facility that is strongly backed by all three levels of government."
Council City Futures Director Stan Liacos said tenders for construction will be called for to enable the project to be underway before the end of the year for completion in mid 2014.
Council Planning and Development director Prue Mansfield said due process was followed.
“The council has carefully considered the issues as we do when assessing all applications," she said.
"While reuse of any significant asset is always going to require comprises, we believe that the issues were thoroughly and adequately addressed for the notice of decision to be issued.
“As with any development within the city’s Central Business District, car parking is always a key consideration.
"The Tom Flood Sports Centre has the ability to provide most of the requisite parking spaces required under the permit.
"A traffic and parking assessment by an independent consultant found there is adequate existing on and off street parking to fill the remaining required car parks.
“Another requirement of the permit is the provision of pedestrian linkages to the theatre from the car park and other precincts such as Barnard Street, View Street, lower Rosalind Park and make the walkways more accessible for patrons, the general public and cyclists.
“Other conditions of the permit include ensuring there are traffic management plans in place during simultaneous events at Tom Flood and the theatre as well as provisions for access to the rear of the building for deliveries."