Funding bid for library, surf museum

Surf Coast Shire Council offices. (Supplied) 220487_01

Ash Bolt

The Surf Coast Shire Council will apply for up to $20 million in state and federal funding to develop a new cultural facility and library in Torquay.

Located at 77 Beach Road, the four-in-one facility will include a new library, Australian National Surfing Museum, visitor information centre and arts facility.

The first stage of the project includes construction of the library, museum, visitor information centre, maker spaces and rehearsal spaces.

The work, which the shire hopes to have completed in 2024, is estimated to cost $33 million, with the Surf Coast Shire Council committing just over $8 million.

Needing $25 million in external funding, the council committed at its last meeting to apply for up to $10 million from the state government’s Regional Tourism Investment Fund and up to $10 million from the latest round of the Australian government’s Building Better Regions Fund.

The council has also previously submitted applications to the Growing Suburbs Fund (for up to $7.5 million) and Living Libraries Infrastructure Program (for up to $1.5 million) and is awaiting the outcome of these in early 2022.

Surf Coast Shire councillor Liz Pattison said the cultural facility and library was a priority project for the council.

“This is a really significant project for the local community, so we’re exploring every option to gain state and federal government support to make it a reality as soon as possible,” she said.

“We know it will generate major cultural, social and economic benefits for locals, visitors and the broader region.

“It will be a wonderful addition to the Surf City precinct.”

Cr Pattison said there was an identified need for the facility to support the growing Torquay community.

“Our surf museum has just been identified as having one of the most significant collections of surfing exhibits internationally – it deserves a home more fit for purpose,” she said.

“Our community is crying out for a larger, more modern library. And as a creative hotspot we need spaces and places for creators and performers to come together.”

Stage two of the project, estimated for 2030, will deliver a fully developed new 250-seat theatre, gallery and artist in residence area.

It is estimated to cost $21 million. No funding has yet been secured for the second stage.