Two years ago a major film and post-production studio was proposed for Coffs Harbour.
Pacific Bay Resort Studios & Village was jointly announced by Russell Crowe, Pacific Bay resort owner Peter Montgomery and producer Keith Rodger (The Water Diviner).
According to Gurmesh Singh is the Member for Coffs Harbour, the project is currently in discussion with Transport for NSW around a Pacific Highway Upgrade which sees a bypass situated at the rear of the resort, and adjacent to the location for the planned sound stages.
“They’re still in the planning phase,” he told TV Tonight.
“It’s quite a significant project, nearly half a billion dollars. So the planning stage is ongoing. I know the proponents are currently deep in discussions with Transport for NSW, given that the proximity of the bypass is impacting what would happen at the studio at that end. So there’s ongoing negotiations, I believe to do with a noise amenity wall. We hope to have those resolved in the coming weeks and then move forward with more detailed planning after that.”
Singh said the project is privately-funded but there would need to be some government investment. Up to $10 million is anticipated for a 400-metre sound barrier to ensure the studios were not adversely affected by noise from the Coffs Harbour Pacific Highway bypass.
“Once the soil turns the site will hopefully be up and running very quickly. This is an investment our town is relying on because historically, we always have quite high unemployment here. We need more industry to come and the film industry is one of those industries that drives so much economic benefit.
“We don’t want to be reliant just on tourism and agriculture. Having a third industry in town, I think, would be great for our kids. It gives them a future and something to aim for.”
He declined to suggest a calendar year for construction or completion but added, “Hopefully by the end of this decade, we would see all stages of the studio complete, not just the first couple of stages.”
The resort’s director, Peter Montgomery, has previously told ABC,”Our target is to break ground in early 2024. Obviously we still have to go through the planning hoops, of which there are many.
“It’ll be just magnificent for Coffs Harbour and the region.”