Yesterday saw the unveiling of the new-look Lennox Head Cultural Centre, marking the completion of a $2.58 million upgrade.
Present for the opening was NSW Arts Minister Don Harwin MLC, MP for Ballina Tamara Smith MLA, and other dignitaries.
Ballina Mayor David Wright gave thanks for the $1.83 million investment from the NSW Regional Cultural Fund. Ballina Council also contributed $750,000 to complete the work.
The new centre features solar-powered air conditioning, a new roof, new internal linings and a six metre retractable screen plus a laser projector.
From the outside, the most noticeable change is the zinc on the turrets, designed to prevent corrosion and develop blue and green tones over time.
Ballina Council hopes that the freshly renovated centre will be a cultural hub for the Northern Rivers, attracting more shows and larger crowds.
‘Ballina Shire Council is a strong believer in creating cultural diversity and artistic strength in the Northern Rivers,’ said Mayor Wright.
‘Not only will this provide additional income to operate and maintain the facility, but it will bring income into businesses across the community.’
After a welcome by local Bundjalung elder and domestic violence worker Aunty Nancy Walke, everyone was treated to a wonderful operatic performance from Katie Rutledge, who comes from Ballina.
She showed off the acoustics of the venue with her performance of Puccini’s famous aria ‘O Mio babbino caro’.
Cr Jeff Johnson said, ‘What started out as a much maligned indoor basketball court with a couple of small meeting rooms has been transformed into a state of the art theatre powered by an 80kW solar system.
‘The Ballina shire, and in particular Lennox Head are so lucky to have this facility right in the heart of town. I’m blown away by how good it is.’