Planning agreement for Kempsey Cinema to be publicly exhibited

Media release - 20 February 2018

Lengthy Councillor discussion resulted in cautious progress on the Kempsey Cinema Project, in front of a full public gallery at today’s Council meeting.

Council has resolved that it will wait for a further response from the Office of Local Government regarding the proposal to progress the cinema project under a Voluntary Planning Agreement (VPA).

That response will be sought as quickly as possible to allow the draft VPA to be notified to the public and placed on exhibition for a period of 28 days. Councillors agreed that submissions received during the exhibition period will be reported back to Council before the VPA could be implemented and the project proceed.

General Manager Craig Milburn advised that the draft VPA tabled at the Council meeting has been modified since it was first discussed in November and that Council’s position has been strengthened.

”Our legal team has renegotiated a number of key elements of the proposed VPA, such as making it clear that Gowings as the owner of the land is responsible for engaging a cinema operator. This means there is no risk of Council having to source and fund an operator.

”Another significant amendment has been that payments of Council’s $2m contribution will also now be phased with the final $600,000 only paid when the cinema commences operation. This is essentially a form of security against performance,” said Mr Milburn.

The VPA will see Council match the Commonwealth governments $2m grant with a one off financial contribution of $2m towards the cinema construction costs.

Dates of the VPA exhibition will be advertised in the Council notices published in print media. The document will be available from Council’s website and Customer Service with members of the public invited to make submissions on the terms of the VPA.