Filming is about to become a lot more frequent on the Northern Rivers, if Byron Studios leases the Alstonville Community Centre.
Filming is about to become a lot more frequent on the Northern Rivers, if Byron Studios leases the Alstonville Community Centre.

Film company movie-ing ahead with plans for community centre

A NEW locally-owned film studio could take over the Alstonville Cultural Centre to shoot Australian and international films from as early as November 1.

Kelly Brown, Director Corporate and Community at Ballina Shire Council, said her team and Byron Studios are finalising the occupation agreement of Alstonville Cultural Centre.

"It is proposed that they will commence at this facility on November 1, 2020", she said.

"Prior to COVID-19 there were two clubs who regularly booked the Alstonville Cultural Centre, once to twice per week.

"There were also three other private businesses and one government department which used the facility, some on a regular basis and others on an ad hoc basis.

"The overall casual use of the facility was minimal."

Ms Brown said at this stage, the library would remain at the centre.

"If it is identified in the future that it is beneficial to relocate the library, then any decision surrounding preferred alternative location will involve consultation and endorsement by Richmond Tweed Regional Library," she said.

Last month, Ballina Shire Council approved to offer a licence agreement to Byron Studios for the Alstonville Cultural Centre, excluding the library space.

It was also agreed that council staff would consult with Richmond Tweed Regional Library to investigate alternative locations for the Alstonville Library, and that a further report be provided to council once alternative options were identified.

 

It is proposed Byron Studios could commence at the Alstonville facility on November 1.
It is proposed Byron Studios could commence at the Alstonville facility on November 1.

 

Council also agreed to facilitate negotiations between the community users and the proposed lessee, for use of the facility.

According to council documents, Byron Studios is planning to establish a purpose-built sound stage and studio complex in the Innovation Precinct in Ballina, but the rezoning of that land is an ongoing process and may not be resolved until next year.

The lease at Alstonville was required as Byron Studios must find a premise before November in order to secure a major production, understood to be worth about $16 million, the documents added.

Councillor Eoin Johnston was one of four councillors to vote against the idea, but supported the work Ms Brown is doing to help community groups to relocate.

"Discussions have been had with the Alstonville Historical Society to sue one of the back buildings there," he said.

"There is already discussions with the Rous Mill Hall to get another one of the groups to go there.

"The matter is that not many groups were meeting due to COVID restrictions, but that doesn't excuse council for not consulting their views and go through due process, in my view."



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