Cultural centre turns into mini-Hollywood in Alstonville
LIGHTS! Camera! Alstonville … action!
From December 1, the Alstonville Leisure and Entertainment Centre (ALEC) in Commercial Rd will officially turn into a small piece of Hollywood when a two-year lease with Byron Studios takes effect.
The building was planned to be demolished to make way for a state-of-the-art library worth more than $9 million. But for now, it will house Hollywood and Australian actors and film crew working on national an international productions.
The Alstonville Library will continue operating normally in the building.
The agreement allows the company to film movies, television and related visual arts productions at the site.
The two-tier agreement signed off by Ballina Shire Council offers a rate of $750 a week while filming of a movie is in progress, and a $350 a week rate while the premises are not in use.
The latest version of the contract, which by Friday afternoon was still not quite closed and signed, also offered a three-month rent-free period.
Byron Studios will also be required to have public liability insurance of $20 million.
The company is expected to double its capacity to film, going from two studios to four.
Along with its current Green Screen Studio and a 96 sqm Blank House Studio in Byron Bay, the new location will allow the company to offer a 800 sqm and a 400 sqm studio.
Ballina Mayor David Wright said he trusted the agreement will go ahead as planned.
"(Byron Studios) had some trouble starting as quickly as they wanted, due to minor features of the business and the fact the library will remain open there, but nothing mayor," he said.
"I think what they are trying to do is to retrofit that building into a studio, and it may have been a bit harder than they thought it would be.
"If they set up their final studios in Ballina near the airport, they want three big buildings and about 35,000 sqm or 3.5ha, a big site."