HomeCouncilBold vision to build new cultural precinct

Bold vision to build new cultural precinct

Civic and Cultural Arts Precinct
Concept plans for a new Civic and Cultural Arts Precinct in the Bundaberg CBD.

A bold vision has been unveiled to create a new civic and cultural arts precinct to revitalise the Bundaberg CBD.

Mayor Jack Dempsey says if funding can be obtained, the visionary project will leave a positive legacy for future generations.

The estimated $55.1 million project includes a new art gallery and a new performing arts centre.

Details are revealed in Council’s 2020 advocacy document, which is being launched soon ahead of the State Election.

“If we can secure funding for a new civic and cultural arts precinct, it will create a vibrant community hub in the Bundaberg CBD,” Mayor Dempsey said.

“The idea is to revitalise the central part of the city and provide a stronger connection with the river through an integrated precinct-based approach.

“Cultural arts facilities are the heart and soul of any community.

“New investments in the precinct will help inspire our city, recognise our past and imagine our bright future.”

In April 2020, Council received $120,000 from the State Government to help prepare the business case for a new Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery, as the current building is no longer fit for purpose.

No decisions have been made on land acquisitions or building demolitions. This will only occur after funding sources are identified and consultation with stakeholders.

If it goes ahead, there will be 16 new buildings overall; 1.2km footpaths linking the civic centre/arts precinct to each other, the CBD and the riverfront; public and open spaces; and 270 new trees.

It’s expected to deliver long-lasting social and economic benefits.

The strategic vision states there’s “significant potential” for retaining more local expenditure in the Bundaberg economy “as new cultural, retail and commercial offerings will act as magnets for residents to visit the precinct”.

“Improved business confidence will result from the enhanced amenity, character and identity of the city centre, increasing the attractiveness of Bundaberg for business investment,” the vision says.

“Improved business confidence is also expected to result in greater levels of business growth and job opportunities.”

Mayor Dempsey said state and federal funding applications will be submitted.

“Council is calling on all state political parties, MPs and candidates to support us in making this vision a reality,” he said.



  1. This is all very pretty, however there are greater priorities in our community. Not least of which is flood preparedness. Until the East Levee and North Bundy Evacuation Route are funded, I do not think that we should be chasing funds for window-dressing projects such as this.
    When the next major flood occurs, very little has been done to make the outcome much different to 2013. Council needs to be actively lobbying both sides of politics about their inaction on this very real community need, not dreaming about building monuments to their own daydreams.

  2. I would hope none of our remaining historical buildings are to be sacrificed to build this modern monstrosity!

  3. Want to revitalise the CBD? Provide more parking.
    Even with so many shops now closed the CBD is still congested.
    Old people should not have to walk three blocks to get to their chemist or favourite shops. I feel for shop workers as well having to leave their vehicles so far away.

  4. I think this is an amazing idea that will give the entire city of Bundaberg a complete new vibe.
    I can understand the concerns people have about old buildings and would hope they could be incorporated into the scheme.
    Bundaberg needs to be more than a pickers paradise.

  5. Surely there are more vital and urgent projects on which to expend the councils energy and resources. Flood mitigation, road and traffic management upgrades I’m sure would benefit rate payers much more then a pandering to the arts

  6. I would like to read what is in the document to be released /revealed as per the above blurb , “Details are revealed in Council’s 2020 advocacy document ” , “which is being launched on Wednesday ahead of the State Election.”
    Tend to agree with other comments here ,at an estimated cost of $55 million , do we really need it now? ,when everyone is struggling due to Covid restrictions ?
    Q’s will it be built in stages ? to be able to be afforded in future budgets and has there been consideration to redirect the congestion , and of course parking , or is this another vote for whomever strategy ….where is /has the community consultation been in regards to this? ,or do we have to wait for the document to come out to find that its already been done and dusted ,on the QT!

  7. A visionary project for the City and should be encouraged, the following generations of the District will appreciate the positive attitude and development of lifestyle facilities to enhance their enjoyment of this fabulous region. This proposal will set a solid foundation for selective refreshment and enhancement to our CBD and provide a legacy for our Kids to cherish.

  8. This ‘bold vision’ is ridiculous & dependent of course on government funding! The current art gallery is still beautiful. We drive down Quay St almost daily & it works very well. Bundy doesn’t need this. Maybe a freshen up that the council should be able to fund from the high rates we pay. The Whale Wall mural should be repainted. pedestrian crossings repainted & of course more car parking. Our CBD is gorgeous NOW! Leave it alone

  9. The current art gallery is not useful for current displays, it is far too small. We need a larger open building, and no stairs nor small box rooms.
    Build it on the Multiplex land on the Burrum St side, then nothing needs to be demolished.
    As for everything else in the plan, save the money. And it would be stupid to build new buildings near the river.
    The centre of town is quite fine as it is, people love the buildings and the frangipani trees.
    The stage area could be expanded length-ways and have more seating in the shade on hot days.

  10. Nice idea if we lived at the Gold Coast or similar, but I love the old buildings on Bourbong Street. Leave it alone, move further out of the city centre and away from the floods. Burrum Street would be preferable; quite a bit of unused land there.

  11. It’s all very fine pandering to the arts , but if we have M$55 to spend we should build some much needed infrastructure eg. an over/underpass over the railway line so people don’t get held up by a goods train , or a bridge connecting up Quay st. over the railway yards so traffic has another option when entering/leaving the city from the east.The main street is only a problem because so many people want to use it , don’t scare them away.

  12. I can not believe that our Regional Council can be so obsessed with wasting tax and ratepayers money on all this proposed beautification of the CBD, when there are so many other more worthy projects which need funding and attention. Most people know that the only way to revive and rescue a business is to make that business economically viable through increased trade. How is a new civic cultural hub, together with all the other proposed tree planting and beautification proposed projects going to help the businesses in the CBD. Bundaberg has always been rural based/reliant so trying to mimic other larger tourist focused cities is ludicrous in my opinion. I would like to listen to someone who could explain, just how these recent beautification proposals are going to economically revitalise the CBD.
    Employment is what puts money in peoples pockets and then these people will spend this money, this then makes local businesses sustainable and in turn creates more jobs and growth and our once vibrant CBD would return. Our State and Federal economic positions have never been worse and yet we have a Council that seems importunate on wasting money. Lets wait until our local economy is more buoyant before pursuing these unnecessary and extravagant beautification projects.
    It would be interesting to know what percentage of the community and councillors are in favour of these recent proposals.
    We need to remember the 7,500 people who had to be evacuated and how close the entire CBD was to being flooded in 2013. The then council and State Government said that Bundaberg needed to and would be flood proofed over the next ten years.
    What has happened to that project?

  13. Show us the money Council.
    Will it come from the effective 10% rate rise we had when they stopped the early payment discount?
    Don’t be so woke!! Spend money on “boring traditional” things we all want that isn’t there now, like dog control, CBD parking etc.

  14. Instead of spending $50 million and knocking down a beautiful old Queensland town, the Bundaberg Council should excavate a flood channel to protect North, South and East Bundaberg from flooding, as they said they were going to do after the 2013 flood.

  15. It amazes me that so many people are against this, huffing about parking, but said nothing when a foreign company decided to transform an eight-story building and build another behind it for international housing. I know of three families with young children living in their cars because rentals are in short supply and are getting more expensive, but we will happily approve housing for people who will not stay in the town or even in the country.

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