Build the PAC on Poppy Park or lose the funding – Crouch

A past artists impression of a possible Performing Arts Centre on poppy park. Image archive October 2015

The proposed regional performing arts centre (PAC) for Gosford must be built on the Gosford City Park site (Poppy Park) if Gosford Council wants to retain the $22 million in NSW and Federal Government funding it has secured for the project according to the Member for Terrigal, Mr Adam Crouch MP.

Mr Crouch reconfirmed the NSW Government’s position in relation to the proposed regional performing arts centre and its location. “It needs to be made perfectly clear that the State Government fully supports the decision by Gosford Council, through the Gosford Challenge process in 2007, and the subsequent blue print for the Gosford City Centre entitled Our City Our Destination, Gosford City Master Plan, in 2010,” Mr Crouch said.

“Through extensive community consultation over a period of several years, the council identified the Gosford City Park site on the corner of Vaughan St and Dane Dve as the site for the regional performing arts centre, which in recent times has been referred to as Poppy Park. “This decision by Gosford Council and the community led to the inclusion of the regional performing arts centre in the Gosford DCP 2013, where it is clearly identifi ed as the cultural hub of the city. “On the basis of this strategic decision by Gosford Council, which the State Government supports, the NSW Government committed $12 million dollars towards the construction of the facility,” said Mr. Crouch.

“The commitment is specifi cally for the approved site which arose from the community consultation process. “The commitment is not for any other site, as the council had not identifi ed any other appropriate location. “This commitment has been reaffi rmed by the minister for planning, Mr Rob Stokes and the parliamentary secretary for the Central Coast, Mr Scot MacDonald, each of whom stand fi rm on this issue. “Despite calls for the regional performing arts centre to be located on other sites such as the proposed private Waterside development in Mann St or the state-owned former public school site, these locations were not identifi ed in the Gosford City Master Plan and nor did they form the outcome of the community consultation process.

“Should Gosford Council decide to build the performing arts centre on another site, the planning process, with full public consultation, will have to start again and council will have to re-apply for NSW Government funding. “It should be made very clear that the State Government does not make available state-owned land for council infrastructure assets. “The regional performing arts centre is not a State Government asset. “It is simply providing funding to Gosford Council to assist in its construction in conjunction with the Federal Government’s funding commitment of $10 million,” Mr Crouch said. Mr Crouch has met with members of the Friends of the Performing Arts Precinct and the West Gosford RSL to “inform them of the facts” and garner community support for the performing arts centre to go ahead on the state government’s preferred site “in line with community expectations”.

He said it was time to hear from the silent majority and that 40 people at a protest on the Gosford waterfront does not represent the Central Coast community of 338,000. According to Mr Crouch, Gosford Council had not made its intentions relating to the project clear for 12 months. He said council had not offi cially informed the NSW Government that it had changed its mind about building the performing arts centre on Gosford City Park, nor had it come forward with a proposed alternative site. Mr Crouch said that at the moment the NSW Government’s pledged contribution to a regional performing arts centre in Gosford was safe because he and parliamentary secretary for the Central Coast, Mr Scot MacDonald remained determined “it is going to happen.

“But why are we still dithering around? “The longer this goes on, the more chance there is of Gosford losing this money,” he said. Mr Crouch said he had given the message to the Friends of the Performing Arts Precinct members that he had met “loud and clear; they need to be aware that there is so much misinformation coming out of Gosford Council,” he said.

Media release, Apr 15, 2016 Deborah Wales, offi ce of Adam Crouch Meeting transcript, Apr 18, 2016 Adam Crouch, member for Terrigal Jackie Pearson, journalist