Letter to the Editor: World-Class Busselton Performing Arts and Convention Center Required for Southwest


There will always be people who will oppose development. Very often, this is a knee-jerk reaction, based on limited understanding.

There was enormous negativity about the massive expenditure of money it took to rebuild Busselton Pier.

What a positive that has been!

Then there was the foreshore.

It took a lot of forethought to see the potential, but it certainly drew in plenty of naysayers along the way.

The airport too. Busselton has moved from town to town and now has an airport that can serve interstate airlines.

The Busselton Pool was designed to be a 50m pool until a number of taxpayers protested the cost – now for 20 years it has not been large enough to meet the demand of our population .

Now is the time to develop a performing arts center and make it the right size for the function, with the best acoustics possible to attract artists from all over the world as well as serve our five high schools with their active theater departments, our large and very successful dance schools in Busselton and Dunsborough, and many other community groups. The current design has been carefully considered, taking the best ideas from other centers and improving the areas where they fell. Redesigning it for a smaller budget would see so many of these fantastic properties compromised.

Let’s do it right. If we delay and change it will require a whole new set of parameters to process which is very expensive.

As with the pier, we need leadership to decide this issue. Busselton is growing in strength with the development of the majestic and unique foreshore, the airport and now the third major pillar to bring it all together – the performing arts center.

The marketing consultants who looked at all the possible locations for this center knew what they were doing when they recommended that it be placed in the heart of the Busselton cultural center, i.e. the Art Geo Center. , where he can connect directly with the Weld Theater as well as the Drama School.

There will soon be another quality hotel a short walk from the center to add to the ones we already have. The consultants carefully considered the parking needs. There are 2800 parking spaces within 500m of the site. A very large part of them are empty at night.

My love of ballet led me to donate the grounds of Happs Winery for an outdoor performance of the Dunsborough School of Ballet.

What a difference it makes to the performance when held in an amphitheater where you can look down on the stage to enjoy the dancers’ feet and the incredible choreography.

From a flat ground, you can only see a little of the body, and the formations cannot be appreciated. Last Christmas we took our grand piano to the outdoor stage for a piano quintet concert. We could have sold the tickets several times, and people are still talking about it.

Those who are not involved in the performing arts may not understand how strong it is in this community, and it will get much stronger if we have better facilities.

Did you know that the seats on the ground floor of the proposed center can be folded down to allow large pop concerts where people want to dance? Or it could be used for ballroom dance conventions. National choral conventions would love to come here. So you lucky ones from Busselton can hear Australia’s best choirs right here.

Happs sponsors the WA Symphony Orchestra.

I know of their excellent education programs and they would love to come here.

Who would deny this opportunity to our children?

WASO also has a very good idea to give young people the opportunity to attend its concerts.

Tickets are available for those under 30 for $ 30. We go to five or six concerts a year and the concert hall is always full, whether it’s Tim Minchin or Lang Lang as the main attraction.

We could do the same thing here, with huge reductions for, say, over 70s and under 30s.

The Orana and the performing arts center would be well used. And all those restaurants along the main streets and on the foreshore are going to be buzzing! The survey is at yoursay.busselton.wa.gov.au/pac.

It closes on August 9 at 5 p.m.

Roslyn Happ, Busselton

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