Surf Coast Council signals approval of cultural center

The Surf Coast Shire Council has approved plans for the Surf Coast Cultural Centre, which will integrate four community facilities into one building.

The center will house the Surf Coast Art Space, the Torquay Visitor Information Centre, the Australian National Surfing Museum and the Torquay Library under one roof. Initial designs were created by William Ross Architects, with the local council to appoint an architect for the detailed design phase at a later date.

To be delivered in two stages, the first phase of development will expand the Australian National Surfing Museum, Torquay Library and Visitor Information Centre, the second will see a complete redevelopment of the arts space, turning it into a theater of 250 places, a gallery and studio of artist in residence. The entire design will reference the local cultural heritage of the Wadawurrung people.

Surf Coast Mayor Libby Stapleton says community consultation is essential for the next steps in the design process.

“Now we are asking for the help of our community to raise awareness of this fantastic project worthy of strong support from the state and federal governments. We would also appreciate interest from the philanthropic sector,” she says.

“Many members of the arts community, surfing industry and current building users have shared with us what they think the needs of this facility are and it has greatly influenced the conceptual design that we have now. We will continue to seek their advice as we move through the detailed planning and design stages.

“We are particularly excited about the prospect of creating a purpose-built space allowing us to better display the 12,000 objects in our Australian National Surfing Museum. Our collection is recognized as being of national and international significance and illustrates such a vivid and important part of our history on the Surf Coast.

The Council’s pending grant applications are $10 million through the Government of Victoria’s Regional Tourism Investment Fund and $8.06 million through the Australian Government’s Building Better Regions Fund. It seeks additional funds through philanthropic contributions and state and federal grants.

The Surf Coast Shire Council hopes to deliver the first stage of the project in 2024, with the second to be completed in 2030.

Image: Surf Coast County Council

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