Coffs Harbour Entertainment Venue Size and Scope Revealed

Published on 23 September 2021

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The ideal Coffs Harbour Entertainment Venue (CHEV) has been revealed to be a multi-functional hub that can accommodate an audience of up to 820 people in a flexible, inclusive space that works for a wide variety of performances and events including music, dance, comedy, theatre, movies, conferences, expos and more.

An outline of the size and community requirements the CHEV would need to meet were contained in the first stage of a Scoping Study for the project – the Functional Brief - which was adopted at last night’s Council Meeting.

Developed through consultation with a wide variety of industry experts and potential users, the Functional Brief recommended a venue with a minimum size of 2,500 square metres and a flexible performance space with raked seating for up to 700 people, or 820 in both standing and seating format. A venue of this size and capacity would ensure it could attract a wide range of touring acts, accommodate special local performances and provide reasonable economic returns.

The full list of identified uses includes major dance performances, school events, eisteddfods and graduation ceremonies, touring theatre productions, live music concerts, touring commercial comedy and musical shows, symphonic and classical chamber music, dinner and cabaret events, community theatre and musicals, community and civic events and all types of conferences or expos.

“The CHEV would be far more than simply a fantastic entertainment venue, it would also be a place that will reveal and nurture our local talent, create diverse job opportunities and be an economic driver for our local creative industries,” said Coffs Harbour Mayor Councillor Denise Knight.

“This project will give our youth the chance to experience performance on a whole new level, both on the stage and in the audience, bring new opportunities for the City Centre and attract visitors to the region.”

Now that the uses, venue capacity and the building footprint have been established, work can now progress on finalising an appropriate City Centre location.

It is anticipated that construction of a new entertainment venue would take approximately six years to plan and build, and cost between $50m to $60m – based on 2019 figures. It is forecast that annual running costs would be between $600,000 and $2m.

The construction of an indoor entertainment venue is not currently within Council’s Delivery Program or Resourcing Strategy. Construction and operational costs would be considered in any future planned budgets or Council’s long term financial plan.

The Functional Brief document and more information about the CHEV Scoping Study project stages can be viewed on Council’s Have Your Say website.

The completion of the Functional Brief was based on previous consultation with community and stakeholders during the 2019-2020 needs analysis stage - the ‘Issues and Options Paper for Performing Arts Spaces (Indoor and Outdoor)’ project. This year Hawkridge Entertainment Services further consulted local and regional entertainment industry stakeholders to define the specific technical requirements for the venue.

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