Hawkridge Entertainment Services was engaged by Blue Mountains City Council to undertake an audit and assessment of bookable Cultural Facilities and Venues. The report was utilised to inform the BMCC Community Facilities Strategy.
Audit and assessment
The audit and assessment reviewed 28 spaces outlining their fitness for purpose. Initially a matrix for venue assessment was developed scoring the facilities against the following areas:
- Assessment of size, capacity and capability of the building and its setting for multiple community and cultural purposes;
- Broad assessment of disability access;
- Environmental sustainability and suitability for retrofit;
- Cultural heritage values and suitability for adaptive reuse;
- Constraints and opportunities presented by heritage status;
- Fitout of the building.
- Suitability for needed uses;
- Accessibility – ease of use;
- Accessibility – public transport, and car parking provision;
- Pedestrian and cycle access;
Place making and contribution to community identity
- Contribution of the building to the precinct e.g. integration, visual prominence, activation of the space.
- Income/Potential for income;
- Requirements for building repairs and maintenance;
- Analysis of Operating expenses.
The spaces reviewed included community halls, theatres, art galleries and rehearsal rooms. Major venues included the following:
- Blue Mountains Cultural Centre;
- Wentworth Falls School of the Arts;
- Lawson Community Hall (Mechanics Institute);
- Blue Mountains Theatre and Community Hub.
It also included a needs assessment of future demand for community and cultural spaces. The outcomes were delivered in a report which outlined the results of the audit of each individual space.
Hawkridge Entertainment Services were required to undertake community and stakeholder surveys. The survey was used to determine the types of users, uses and utilisation as well as discuss any major issues in the facilities. In addition, meetings occurred with major stakeholders to discuss issues and potential areas of improvement.
A number of meetings took place with Council staff to determine the current process of bookings and to discuss any issues.
A final report was developed outlining all of the elements that had be researched. The report incorporated a number of specific recommendations including:
- Providing recommendations for future management of facilities including centralised and decentralised options;
- Providing recommendations for future provision and transformation of current building stock to meet future needs within foreseeable available resources including options such as divestment/ leasing/change of use; and
- Providing recommendations (and appropriate tools) for ongoing online marketing and booking of facilities compatible with Council software.