Construction of the $18.725 million Proserpine Entertainment Centre (PEC) commenced today with a sod turning ceremony.

Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor Andrew Willcox was joined on-site by Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Qld Treasurer and Minister for Infrastructure and Planning, Cameron Dick and Member for Dawson - George Christensen.

J Hutchinson Pty Ltd were awarded the construction contract for the PEC with the first sod turned today and the facility expected to be completed by September 2021, subject to weather.

Mayor Willcox said the start of construction would be music to the ears of Whitsunday residents who have been missing their live shows, concerts, musicals and theatre.

“It has been rocky journey over a number of years as we went from an initial $500,000 insurance repair bill to a building audit report indicating that demolishing the old facility and building a new one was the best outcome for the community” he said.

“This has also required increased funding and I advocated strongly for Federal and State Government support to ensure the state-of-the art entertainment complex has been fully funded externally”.

“Getting Local government, State government and Federal government working together to deliver this funding has delivered such an important regional facility”.

The Queensland Government has committed $13.725 million to the new state of the art PEC while the Australian Government provided $5 million towards the project from the Building our Regions – Community Development Grants fund.

“The project will create over 40 jobs during the construction phase and the contractor has committed to prioritising local tradies wherever possible,” Mayor Willcox said.

The overall $18.725 million PEC project includes demolition, full architectural design, project delivery management and construction.

Ergon costs for the undergrounding of power & removal of the current overhead power lines and a pole mounted transformer will also be part of the project.

The installation of a solar panel system will reduce annual operating costs and the project will also incorporate additional specialist theatre and lighting fit-out.

The new facility will provide 380 tiered seats in a retractable seating system and the design provides flexibility for up to 500 people seated indoors and outdoors as a multi-purpose use facility.

The open plan design allows the key performance hall to connect seamlessly with a landscaped external space so that the capacity of the building can be further increased for outdoor events and annual ceremonies like Anzac Day .