Civic space up­grade needed, says mayor

Weekend Courier - - Opinion -

CITY of Rock­ing­ham Mayor Barry Sam­mels has jus­ti­fied spend­ing $745,000 up­grad­ing coun­cil grounds due to a lack of pa­tron­age in the area.

Age and main­te­nance were also fac­tors.

The up­grade was ap­proved at the City’s last meet­ing on Septem­ber 26 be­fore the coun­cil elec­tions.

“The City Square and Civic Plaza were con­structed over 25 years ago,” Mr Sam­mels said.

“The cur­rent main­te­nance bur­den, pri­mar­ily due to the on­go­ing dam­age caused by the large ma­ture spec­i­men trees, was fac­tored into the de­ci­sion to up­grade at this time.

“The up­grade to the City Square and the Civic Plaza will re­vi­talise im­por­tant com­mu­nity and civic spa­ces which no longer of­fer a di­verse com­mu­nity func­tion, as shown by the lack of cur­rent pa­tron­age.”

The City Square de­sign will in­te­grate a va­ri­ety of new seat­ing op­tions, pav­ing, light­ing and plant­ing within raised gar­den beds.

It is in­tended to cre­ate an “el­e­ment of sur­prise” by re­defin­ing the en­trance to the coun­cil ad­min­is­tra­tion build­ings.

It will have land­scape treat­ments that en­hance the ex­ist­ing colon­nade by in­clud­ing new flow­er­ing trees, ground­cover plant­ing, paved sur­faces and an up­grade to the wa­ter foun­tain sur­round.

The de­sign phase of the project cost $45,000, with the ac­tual works pro­jected to cost $700,000.

Mr Sam­mels dis­agreed that th­ese costs were ex­ces­sive.

“The pri­mary pur­pose of the pro­posed im­prove­ment works is not sim­ply to add more seats, pav­ing and plant­ings,” he said.

“The im­prove­ment works in­clude de­mo­li­tion, earth­works, drainage up­grades, en­hanced pub­lic light­ing, re­tain­ing walls and im­proved uni­ver­sal ac­cess, as well as new pav­ing, ad­di­tional plant­ing and con­tem­po­rary seat­ing and fur­ni­ture up­grades.

The project will progress to the de­tailed de­sign phase.

An artist’s im­pres­sion of the mod­ernised City Square and (be­low) an aerial view of the ar­eas as they are now.

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