News Flash

Hepburn Hub at the Rex Update

Bruce MacIsaac, Project Director, Hepburn Hub, Hepburn Shire Council was present at the AGM and gave a succinct and informative account of components of this project.

The Hepburn Hub at the Rex is to be a multi-use community and Council facility located in the heart of Hepburn Shire that shall be accessible and welcoming for all. The integrated hub model encourages a range of core community facilities to be shared under the one roof of the much loved, historical Rex Theatre.

Kosloff Architecture is working with the Hepburn Shire Council on this project. The heritage fabric of the building is being treated respectfully and carefully to ensure that the essential heritage qualities of the building are enhanced. The restoration and fit-out works will also provide a state-of-the-art cinema and presentation space for the community.

The cinema, in conjunction with the new library space, will offer a new public multi-purpose educational space that is technologically enabled to suit modern societal needs. The Stage 2 fit-out design will respond to the complex brief, existing heritage fabric and the inherited constraints of the unfinished existing building works. The project scope can broadly be divided into five areas of scope: library, Council offices, community cinema, customer service, digital co-working areas and common areas.

In order to create an integrated design that reflects the aspirations of the Hepburn Shire community, three key design drivers have been identified as follows: Local – local history and heritage, local Indigenous Culture, local makers and local materials. Wellness – environmentally sustainable, connected to nature, natural light. Community – inclusive, accessible, connected, community centric.

Bruce stated that an amended planning permit is on the agenda for the 22 December Council meeting. This became a requirement when the Council decided not to proceed with the social enterprise café. This space will become additional library space. The amended planning permit needs to be approved before the builder can commence the works. All being well with the planning permit, the intended date for commencement of the works is the 18th January 2021 and the intended completion date is mid-June 2021.

A number of questions were asked from members present at the AGM and this year, compared to last year, there was a sense of more positivity due to the progress that has been made on the architectural plans and fitout of the complex, but especially as it relates to the cinema. Bruce acknowledged the ongoing collaboration in working with the DCT Committee to ensure the requirements of the cinema are met in order for the cinema to be a wonderful experience for all involved - members, volunteers and patrons, as well as for it to be operationally successful.

Gina mentioned that the cinema hasn’t been operational since October 2017 and that the DCT Committee has also been working hard on protecting the cash and assets of the cinema and will continue to do so. Members thanked Bruce for his presentation which was well received.