Council releases MOAC fact sheet

The development of the proposed new Margaret Olley Arts Centre (MOAC) looks set to be the hot topic at the next Lismore City Council meeting on Tuesday, December 8. With a rescission motion, three notices of motion from individual councillors and a staff report about the MOAC due to be tabled, Mayor Jenny Dowell said Council had decided to release a fact sheet about the MOAC to ensure that all councillors had the correct information.

“Council staff have been asked lots of questions about the centre and there have been some changes along the way,” Cr Dowell said. “We wanted to ensure that everyone, including the public, has the correct information regarding frequently asked questions.

“I have a vision for Lismore; I want Lismore to be the best city it can be and that means a city that appeals to locals and visitors. I hope my fellow councillors share that vision but Tuesday night will tell.”

Information found in the fact sheet includes:

Since a rescission motion was lodged to stop an architect from being appointed to design the proposed new building, Council has received 12 letters opposing the rescission motion and four in support.

An online poll conducted by The Northern Star resulted in 67% of voters voting yes for the MOAC.

The estimated cost to build the MOAC is $9.032 million. This is in addition to the funding of $739,000 that Council has already allocated in the current budget to progress the preparation of plans, lodgement of the development application and construction certificate, and payment of necessary contributions such as Section 94 etc. Council also intends to contribute a further $3 million towards the construction cost.

The remainder of the funding is proposed to be provided as follows:

$4.5m from the federal government, $1m from Southern Cross University, $210,000 from the NSW State Government and $290,000 from donations.

Council currently collects $22,771,000 per year in rates and there will be no rate rises to cover the costs of building the MOAC.

The current inadequate gallery costs Council around $450,000 per year to run (with a likely future increase in costs as the building is old). The new one will cost $160,000 extra per year once it is operating in three years time. An additional $280,000 in loan repayments will also be required in 2012/13. The loan repayments will have no impact on Council’s operating budget for things such as roads.

Before any grant applications to the federal government can be submitted, an architect must be engaged to prepare detailed design plans and supporting documentation to allow a development application to be lodged.

The grant application is due to be submitted by January 15, 2010.

If the MOAC did not proceed, then available funds to spend on things like roads would be: $47,000 in 2010/11, $270,500 in 2011/12, and $440,000 in 2012/13.

Cr Dowell also said if the MOAC did not proceed, then the money could not just be put into roads as most of it was coming from grant funding and donations. The full fact sheet can be found on the Lismore City Council website at

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