Cinema project faces delay

Media release - 21 June 2017

The response received from the Office of Local Government regarding the proposed public private partnership to build a cinema in Kempsey, has forced a delay on the project.

The Project Review Committee (PRC) has acknowledged Council’s genuine desire to invest in this project as a means of generating social, cultural and economic benefits to the Shire. On reviewing the documents supplied by Council the PRC has sought further information regarding the procedures and processes Council followed.

The PRC letter was tabled at the June Council meeting held yesterday, where Councillors resolved to bring a further report to the extraordinary Council meeting scheduled for next Tuesday evening. This report will advise on responses to the questions raised by the PRC and if the matters raised can be addressed in a time-frame that will allow the project to continue.

General Manager, David Rawlings confirmed that a number of the issues raised by the PRC are complex to address.

“The concerns of the PRC focus on processes that we’ve followed, the advice we received from an independent accountant and the need to further demonstrate the financial risks and implications of this project in Council’s budget documents.

“Council take on board this feedback and detailed consideration of what is now being required will form the basis of the report to next week’s Council meeting.

“While the issues raised are about process and financial implications, it is unfortunate that there is no weighting being given to the economic and social implications our community face if this project doesn’t go ahead.

“The risks associated with this project not proceeding include the loss of an immediate $6 million investment into Kempsey, the loss of existing jobs and income impacted by retail leakage out of our CBD, the lost opportunity to bring the valley’s significant tourist numbers into the Kempsey CBD and the lost social and cultural benefits that the cinema can bring our residents.

“Council has been very clear about the fact that investing in this project aims to create a vibrant CBD, provide ways for people to spend money in Kempsey and therefore secure jobs.

”For those reasons Council will continue exploring the feasibility of progressing the project, which will be further analysed at next week’s meeting,” said Mr Rawlings.

Council has updated the Cinema project page on the website, in response to a number of questions being raised by the community