Ipswich needs a beating cultural heart
The Ipswich Regional Centre Strategy of 2008 identified the IPAC as "a catalytic project to stimulate revitalisation" of the region.
The strategy outlined the need to "develop a multi-purpose performing arts complex incorporating a public square to celebrate significant occasions with usages including conventions, exhibitions and multicultural events".
A subsequent 2011 needs analysis and feasibility study of the IPAC determined the required building size, usage, concept designs and possible sites for the centre.
Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale said council had identified three sites in Ellenborough St, South St and at the Ipswich Railway Workshops as possible locations for the IPAC.
"The key is the positioning of it - to make a strong CBD," he said.
"My preferred location is in Ellenborough St where the old rail yard is because it is close to the CBD.
"Where we are standing (in the council offices in South St) is another preference because we can take the whole of council to the Icon 2 building and the library to the CBD.
"We achieve that and we will have one hell of a vibrant CBD.
"CBDs are all about performing arts and having an entertainment base. Culture is at the heart of a thriving city."
Council is seeking $300,000 from the State Government to fund a feasibility study.
The facility would include multi-purpose performing spaces that are flexible enough to meet a vast array of needs with a main theatre seating 1200 to 1500, a secondary theatre with a capacity of 400 to 600 and a function space to seat 600 diners.
Cr Pisasale has identified Port Macquarie's performance and exhibition arts facility known as The Glasshouse as an example of what he hopes to replicate in Ipswich as it boasts a theatre, performance studio, an international-standard regional gallery, conference facilities, heritage displays and a Tourism Information Centre.
The council's project brochure highlights how the current Ipswich Civic Centre "does not meet the functionality requirements and does not have sufficient capacity to meet current or future demand".
Since the civic centre was built, the population of Ipswich has doubled and is expected to more than double again by 2031.
The civic centre's dated appearance, design limitations and inadequate capacity mean a new facility to cater for the Ipswich region's needs is long overdue.
Cr Pisasale said acts and functions were currently being held in Brisbane and other centres and Ipswich people were missing out on entertainment options.