Media Release: Arts community snubbed as Riverway Arts Centre still not reopened after 2019 floods

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Arts community snubbed as Riverway Arts Centre still not reopened after 2019 floods
 
Federal Member for Herbert Phillip Thompson says Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill needs to explain to the community why the Riverway Arts Centre hasn’t reopened two-and-a-half years after the 2019 floods.
 
The 400-patron capacity contemporary studio-style performance space has been closed since February 2019 when it sustained significant water damage in the monsoon flood event.
 
Council initially advised the Centre would be open by the end of July 2019, then in May, pushed the deadline back to September 2019. In December 2019, Council advised there was still more work to be completed.
 
Now, two years on from the expected opening the Mayor has announced it will become the new home of the relocated Thuringowa Library.
 
Mr Thompson said the local arts community, which has been calling out for extra performance facilities, deserved an explanation.
 
“What we’ve seen here is a 5-month timeline blow out to 7 months. That’s come and gone and we’ve had radio silence from the Mayor and Council on the Riverway Arts Centre ever since,” Mr Thompson said.

“Now we’ve learnt the Mayor wants this to be the new site of the Thuringowa Library because she says it’s ‘currently under-utilised’[1]. Well it’s no wonder it’s underutilised when it’s been closed for two-and-a-half years.
 
“Just this week we’ve had the Australian Concerto and Vocal Competition cancel because of no suitable alternate venues to the Civic Theatre being available. The Mayor then publicly shamed the group for their completely understandable decision on a statement posted to social media.
 
“Meanwhile the Mayor is begging for funding for a brand new concert hall.”
 
Mr Thompson said residents were also waiting to hear how a splash park that was promised two years ago was progressing.
 
“The Mayor and her mates in the State Labor Government announced a $3.6 million splash park for the Riverway Lagoons back in June 2019,” Mr Thompson said.

“Now we’re more than two years down the track – and nothing to show for it.
 
“This Mayor and this Council has a reputation for raising rates but not delivering for ratepayers – and the lack of action on these projects are just two examples of that.”
 
Riverway Arts Centre Timeline

  • 12 February 2019 – Riverway Arts Centre closed due to water damage from 2019 floods[2]
  • 19 March 2019 – Council advises facility will open by the end of July 2019[3]
  • 21 May 2019 – Council advises facility will open in September 2019[4]
  • 19 September 2019 – Council advises Centre repair ‘still has a while to go’[5]
  • 17 December 2019 – Council advises more work is required but that ‘Council will continue to provide updates to the community’[6]
  • 23 June 2021 – the Mayor advises the Thuringowa Library will relocate to the Riverway Arts Centre, saying it is ‘under-utilised’[7]

ENDS

[1] https://www.townsville.qld.gov.au/about-council/news-and-publications/media-releases/2021/june/boost-for-libraries-in-2021-22-budget

[2] https://www.townsville.qld.gov.au/about-council/news-and-publications/media-releases/2019/february/riverway-facilities-temporarily-closed

[3] https://www.townsville.qld.gov.au/about-council/news-and-publications/media-releases/2019/march/riverway-restoration-underway

[4] https://www.townsville.qld.gov.au/about-council/news-and-publications/media-releases/2019/may/restoration-of-riverway-continuing

[5] https://www.townsville.qld.gov.au/about-council/news-and-publications/media-releases/2019/september/dive-into-the-school-holidays-at-riverway

[6] https://www.townsville.qld.gov.au/about-council/news-and-publications/media-releases/2019/december/riverway-repairs-make-progress-in-time-for-summer-holidays

[7] https://www.townsville.qld.gov.au/about-council/news-and-publications/media-releases/2021/june/boost-for-libraries-in-2021-22-budget

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