Movie studio’s big plans for Alstonville
A MOVIE studio on the cusp of securing a major production is set to a lease to take over the Alstonville Cultural Centre.
At this week's Ballina Shire Council meeting, councillors will discuss entering into a licence agreement with Byron Studios to the use of the entire centre, excluding the library.
The company 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.
Byron Studios says it must find a premise before November in order to secure a major production, understood to be worth about $16 million.
"Finding suitable premises at short notice is difficult," the council report explains.
"Byron Studios approached council seeking assistance and the Alstonville Cultural Centre was identified as a potential option.
"Following on from inspections of the ACC by producers, set designers, engineers etc., Byron Studios has confirmed their intention to secure the premises.
"Negotiations in principle have now concluded.
"The establishment of a viable and successful film industry in the Ballina Shire will create employment and career opportunities for young people as well as boost local businesses such as catering, accommodation, set making, costuming, make-up artists."
The sports hall would be used for filming and the multi purposes room for filming and post production.
Byron Studios has also expressed an interest in using the library space for offices and post-production, but that would require discussions with Richmond Tweed Regional Library and the ability to find an appropriate and affordable alternative location.
The facility currently has four frequent bookings ‒ Alstonville Physical Culture, At Work, Alstonville High School and Lord Taverners.
Council staff will "actively work" with the current hirers to find an alternative facility to support their needs.
If the lease is approved, Byron Studios will enter into a two-tier rental structure, paying an "active rate" of $750 per week when the premises are occupied and or the contract for a movie is in progress.
They will also pay a passive rate of $375 per week when not using the venue.
A decision on the lease agreement with Byron Studios will be made at Thursday's council meeting.