HEART starts with official opening event | Photos

Facilities at the HEART complex include a 448-seat theatre, multipurpose room, exhibition spaces and cinema screens. Photo: Ian Smith
Facilities at the HEART complex include a 448-seat theatre, multipurpose room, exhibition spaces and cinema screens. Photo: Ian Smith

Margaret River's HEART entertainment and cultural precinct was officially opened on Saturday, with with Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan joining Shire of Augusta Margaret River representatives and stakeholders at the event.

Federal Member for Forrest Nola Marino, AMR Shire President Pam Townshend and Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan at the HEART opening on Saturday. Photo: AMR Shire

Federal Member for Forrest Nola Marino, AMR Shire President Pam Townshend and Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan at the HEART opening on Saturday. Photo: AMR Shire

Unveiling the foundation plaque inside the sound shell, Minister MacTiernan said the facilities would allow the region to build on existing tourism popularity by moving into the business and conference market.

"Our government's $5 million investment has created a modern, innovative hub for Margaret River, opening up new opportunities as a venue for the community, culture, arts and business sectors," she said.

Wadandi custodian Wayne Webb of the Undalup Association speaks at the official HEART opening. Photo: Ian Smith

Wadandi custodian Wayne Webb of the Undalup Association speaks at the official HEART opening. Photo: Ian Smith

"This is a great facility that will add to the social fabric of the town by giving locals a chance to pursue their interests in culture, arts and entertainment for many years to come.

"We'll soon hear the sounds of guitars strumming through the Margaret River HEART, with the venue chosen to stage a number of events for the inaugural Strings Attached: The West Australian Guitar Festival.

Facilities at the HEART complex include a 448-seat theatre, multipurpose room, exhibition spaces, cinema screens, and an outdoor grassed area and sound shell.

Facilities at the HEART complex include a 448-seat theatre, multipurpose room, exhibition spaces and cinema screens. Photo: Ian Smith

Facilities at the HEART complex include a 448-seat theatre, multipurpose room, exhibition spaces and cinema screens. Photo: Ian Smith

Business events, conferences and trade shows at the facility are expected to deliver an economic return to the community.

South West MLC Adele Farina said the venue would allow larger touring events to make a stop in the South West.

"Being involved with the project from its inception it is wonderful to see this modern hub become a reality, the Margaret River HEART will become a place for community members and visitors to come together to celebrate, collaborate and enjoy performing arts, events, festivals and major touring shows," Ms Farina said.

"It will also attract conferences and expos to the town providing a boost to the local economy."

Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories and Federal Member for Forrest Nola Marino said the new hub would be a huge drawcard for the region's events industry.

Federal Member for Forrest Nola Marino, AMR Shire President Pam Townshend and Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan at the HEART opening on Saturday. Photo: Ian Parmenter.

Federal Member for Forrest Nola Marino, AMR Shire President Pam Townshend and Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan at the HEART opening on Saturday. Photo: Ian Parmenter.

"The HEART will be a hotspot for art, entertainment, business conventions, regional events and community gatherings - supporting local businesses and providing a better experience for residents," Mrs Marino said.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the HEART would increase annual visitors to entertainment facilities in the region from 25,000 to 45,000.

"In addition to bringing people, events and conferences to Margaret River, this project has hugely boosted local employment, supporting 141 jobs construction while creating an expected 13 ongoing roles over the next three years," Mr McCormack said.

Shire of Augusta-Margaret River President Pam Townshend said the venue would help the region retain people and attract longer stays from tourists.

"Building social, economic and environmental infrastructure will allow people and business to spend more time and invest in Margaret River," Cr Townshend said.

The Australian Government invested $1.8 million in Stage One of the project under the National Stronger Regions Fund. The Western Australian Government also contributed $365,000, Lotterywest $1.4 million and the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River Shire $35,000.