The Civic Theatre will remain on the Queensland Heritage list despite calls to have it demolished.
The Civic Theatre will remain on the Queensland Heritage list despite calls to have it demolished.

Civic Theatre to remain on the Queensland Heritage list

By ALLANMcNEILallanm@gladstoneobserver.com.au

ACCORDING to someone in an office in Brisbane, this is a building of historical significance.

However for owner of the 57-year-old Civic Theatre, Keith Upton, the building is little more than a white elephant.

Yesterday Mr Upton was told his application to have the building removed from the Queensland Heritage register and destroyed was rejected.

The decision was another blow after the years Mr Upton spent trying to keep the building off the heritage register.

Once a popular movie theatre, the Civic has lain dormant since its doors closed in 2001.

Under the Queensland Heritage Council rules, there is little Mr Upton can do to develop the building.

The catch 22 situation means the building continues to cost Mr Upton money in rates, while no one is willing to buy it due to development restrictions.

'It's no good to anyone the way it is,' a frustrated Mr Upton told The Observer yesterday.

The building was originally suggested for heritage listing by Gladstone City Council in 1997, which was opposed by Mr Upton.

'It's a liability, it's like having a tiger by the tail,' Mr Upton said.

Gladstone mayor Peter Corones said despite originally approving the listing of the Civic Theatre, the council was now sympathetic to Mr Upton's situation.

'I certainly feel sorry for Mr Upton who has been caught in the middle of all this,' Cr Corones said.

'Council at the time endorsed it (the building's heritage listing) because we thought 'well maybe it's worth preserving', but now don't feel as strongly,' Cr Corones said.

According to the Queensland Heritage Council website the Civic Theatre was registered because of the part it played in the local movie scene.

The heritage listing mentions the '...intact auditorium, projector room and canvas seats,' as significant features.

'The facade makes an aesthetic contribution to the streetscape of southern Goondoon Street, and the place has social value, being well known and regularly visited by locals and visitors alike.'

Queensland Heritage Council acting chair Margaret Cook said the heritage council rejected Mr Upton's applications because they were not satisfied that all possibilities for developing the Civic Theatre had been explored.

'The heritage council was not satisfied that opportunities for redevelopment of the theatre have been fully explored, and on those grounds could not support the demolition of this culturally significant building,' she said.



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