GECC tripled its hourly cost for practices and rehearsals
COMMUNITY performance groups are facing three times the previous cost for rehearsals after a review of the price structure at the Gladstone Entertainment Convention Centre.
The fees have gone from $25 an hour to $75 and that is after the centre gives them a 50% discount on the fee for commercial groups.
The centre is used by travelling commercial groups including Victorian based PROMAC Productions performing Pirates of Penzance tonight.
But it's also home to groups such as the Gladstone Eisteddfod Committee who run a four-week competition for young performers from schools across central Queensland.
When the new price structure was introduced on January 1, community groups feared they were being pushed out of using the facility.
Two months later, it appears their fears were valid.
The council's arts and culture portfolio spokesman councillor Ren Lanzon said the entertainment centre was "not ideally suited as a rehearsal venue" and could be "expensive for hirers" using it for that purpose.
But performance groups say there are no other appropriate spaces.
And despite the need for an affordable place for amateur performers to rehearse, Gladstone Regional Council appears to have no plans to provide one.
The changes were introduced following a review 12 months after the new $22 million centre opened.
Cr Lanzon said the review found the new charges were necessary because the centre was larger and attracting a wider clientele.
"(And) council will continue to review GECC's fees and charges in order to meet the needs of its users," he said.
Cr Lanzon organised a meeting on Wednesday afternoon and more than 30 people attended to hear the explanation of the new price structure.
The fees and charges for not-for-profit groups are 50% of the cost for commercial groups. There is a 60% discount for school groups.
Charges for commercial groups to hire the theatre as a rehearsal room, for example, are now $150 an hour compared to the $25 charged for all groups in the old rehearsal room.
"Feedback has led to the introduction of new half-day and hourly rates of charge for the hall and meeting rooms in the new schedule," Cr Lanzon said.
The centre was renovated to provide more flexibility and versatility for the local community allowing residents to hold dinners, balls, exhibitions, conferences and meetings, he said.
COST TO COUNCIL
- The 2014/2015 budget shows a deficit of $2.42 million plus yearly loan repayments of $961,000
- It cost $22 million to refurbish the centre which is considered one of the best of its kind in Queensland
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