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$7.4 Million Makeover for Wyndham Cultural Centre: Is the Price Tag Too High?

Wyndham Cultural Centre

Can the Cost of This Multi-Million Dollar Facility Overhaul Be Justified?

Construction is set to begin soon on the $7.4 million upgrade to one of Wyndham City’s key assets, the Wyndham Cultural Centre. The Wyndham Council awarded the contract for the works to Alchemy Construct Pty Ltd during its meeting last week.

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Wyndham City Mayor Cr Jennie Barrera expressed her enthusiasm for the project, stating, “The upgrade to the Cultural Centre will deliver a transformed space that better meets the needs and expectations of exhibiting artists, audiences, users of the facility, and the broader community.”

She further highlighted the necessity of the upgrade, saying, “The Centre was a state-of-the-art facility when it was redeveloped in 2001. This upgrade is crucial to reflect the different ways art is made and enjoyed in the 21st century.”

The planned upgrade includes several significant changes:

– Internal upgrade of the foyer
– Relocation of the gallery to the downstairs area
– Refurbishment of gallery spaces
– Creation of a new collection space for visual art
– Relocation of staff administration spaces
– Refurbishment of the bar and toilet amenities
– Direct entry into the library from Wedge Street

However, the question arises: Are the costs justified? The upgrade, funded partly by a $3 million contribution from the Victorian Government’s Growing Suburbs Fund, aims to transform the facility. Still, some residents might question whether the scope of the changes—such as the refurbishment of gallery spaces and bar, and relocation of staff administration spaces—warrants the $7.4 million price tag.

For instance, is the relocation of the gallery to the downstairs area a necessity that justifies the cost, or could those funds be better utilized elsewhere within the community? Similarly, the refurbishment of toilet amenities, while important, might not seem as critical compared to other potential community projects.

Wyndham City’s Creative City portfolio holder, Cr Marcel Mahfoud, underscored the importance of the upgrade. “This is a great step forward for Wyndham. I know a lot of work has already gone into this project in the design phase, and I, along with all artists and users of this facility, can’t wait for work to begin on this exciting project,” he said.

“We look forward to seeing a revamped Centre open in mid-2025 and for it to continue to play a vital role in our city’s cultural life.”

Construction is expected to begin next month, with the library remaining open throughout, although planned closures will occur during critical stages of the project. The community will be watching closely to see if the substantial investment delivers the promised benefits and enhances the Cultural Centre’s role in Wyndham’s cultural life.

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