Wednesday 27 July 2011

Cairns Entertainment Centre | Our own Opera House

Precinct may cost more than $240m

Daniel Strudwick
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
© The Cairns Post

Cost estimates for the Cairns Entertainment Precinct have come in above the proposed $240 million budget but offer the city more infrastructure than originally planned, the project manager says.

A breakdown of costs has been revealed to the public for the first time after locals were given a chance to contribute their ideas to the project’s concept phase at recent community consultation workshops.

Feedback from the four public sessions, as well as meetings with other user groups, helped guide architects as they finalised two master plan options this month.

The first option, which has a single-level plaza for mixed use, is estimated to cost about $250.15 million.

The second option – which includes a multi-level public space, favoured by locals at the workshops – came in at about $245.2 million.

But project manager Linda Cardew said architects still had a year of design work left, and the cost of the project could be adjusted to meet the budget as plans progressed.

"All of the things the community has said it’s wanted to date are included (in the estimates)," she said.

"As the designs are firmed up, they will be value-managed, which means that we take a good hard look at the developing design and you always control it to make sure it fits within the budget."

And she insists the precinct now offers better value for ratepayers’ money than the original "Valcano" proposal.

"A lot of things have been added at no cost," she said.

"In the previous scheme there was no roof or canopy but in this scheme we’ve got that and a community hub, spaces for public art, the realignment of the port’s access road and the relocation of the Quicksilver building."

The estimates include suggestions from the public such as a footbridge to the Convention Centre and covered walkways connecting the precinct’s proposed Wharf St site to an undercover carpark on Grafton St.

The estimates will form part of Cairns Regional Council’s business case, required by the State Government to secure $80 million of funding committed to the project.

Author | Source | The Cairns Post | July 27th

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