By HARRY CLARKE
CHINCHILLA’S cultural and entertainment hub will undergo an $8.4 million facelift aimed to better “open up” the precinct and reach its full potential in the middle of the town’s main street.
Maranoa MP David Littleproud today visited Chinchilla, his home town, to announce $6.9 million of the federal government’s Local Road and Community Infrastructure fund to be spent revamping the Chinchilla Cultural Centre.
The initiative will give the entertainment hall, courtyard and cinema a new, modern facade and also involve the complete redevelopment of Chinchilla’s renowned Lapunyah Art Gallery.
“This facility does need an upgrade and it’s about the amenity of life in regional and rural Australia, and making sure Chinchilla keeps pace,” Mr Littleproud said.
“We have to attract people to the bush and by putting these kinds of investments – upgrading our cinemas and our libraries and art galleries – means that people can come and live out here.”
“It’s pretty exciting for me as a Chinchilla boy. The art gallery used to be the library when I was a kid, so to see the progression with these kinds of investments is very exciting. I think Chinchilla will be proud of this investment.”
SLIDESHOW – Artist impressions
The balance of the total $8 million upgrade will be funded by the Western Downs Regional Council.
Redevelopment works are scheduled to start in July this year and be completed by June 2023, supporting up to 40 local jobs during construction.
Western Downs mayor Paul McVeigh said the design of the new Chinchilla Cultural Centre would “open up” the facility to Heeney St and make the centre more inviting for visitors.
“This project will breathe new life into this popular local precinct, which is home to our Customer Contact Centre, Cultural Centre, Library, Cinema, and Lapunyah Art Gallery,” Cr McVeigh said.
“The revitalisation is unique to the local area and will create new opportunities for the community to come together to enjoy activities and community events, while also encouraging visitors to spend more time in the region.
“This project was fast-tracked as part of Council’s COVID-19 Recovery Package to secure and create jobs and enhance the liveability of the region, and we are delighted the Australian Government has partnered with us to deliver this exciting project for the region.”
Lapunyah Art Gallery president Gail Tailor said its redevelopment would greatly improve the experience of gallery visitors and create new ways to showcase the region’s artistic talent.
“It’s absolutely fantastic. We’ve been waiting for something like this for so long and it’s just wonderful,” Ms Tailor said.
“To know that we have a completion date to look forward to is very exciting and we can’t wait to see what new opportunities it will bring.”