What is your vision for the Civic Centre precinct? Here's an example to get you thinking, submitted by local resident, Don Blackwood. Thanks to Don for allowing us to publish this.
VISION FOR THE CIVIC PRECINCT
My vision is one for a vibrant community precinct built around a plaza incorporating a structure which fulfils a multiplicity of purposes providing cultural, artistic, recreational and environmentally sustainable facilities directed towards all levels within our community. Spaces within the centre need to provide interaction and involvement; be inclusive and meet the needs of the community particularly for those less fortunate or disadvantaged.
The precinct has to operate as a community hub providing almost round the clock services and not leave it to other organisations or institutions to battle for resources and under constant threat on funding issues. The model embraced by the City of Darebin in the Northcote Town Hall precinct is to be encouraged as are the range of services on offer within the City of Yarra.
The vision needs to take a bold approach taking into account its historical significance and away from a limiting small town village-type approach. The suburb is on the brink of the Diamond Valley acting as a gatekeeper or lighthouse and embracing hospitals, La Trobe Univ, Heidelberg School heritage, Darebin Parklands and the beautiful Yarra River meandering its way through the suburb. Future design has to take into account the dynamics of an ever-changing community and being able to respond to their needs.
This community is now much more culturally diverse and that is most appealing. No longer is the dominant local culture influenced by schools or churches who dominated the landscape and this community for decades. Any future precinct has to recognise the changing ethnic and cultural influences and any community hub has to be inclusive of the needs of this more pluralistic community.
The library as such an important part of this community has acted as a de facto hub/meeting place in recent years and its ability to react to different needs whilst still sticking to its charter is to be commended. It must have a foremost and prominent place in any future community precinct.
Public plazas suitably developed will give members of the community opportunities to meet, discuss and enjoy what is on offer and, embracing a community hub, will ensure a robust and major focal point for the area. Ultimately, we should have a community hub which provides a centre point for information and resources at the top of the town where connections and links can be made. Atomisation and alienation will be eliminated and a greater sense of belonging encouraged throughout the community.
We as a community have to take responsibility for our future and well being and not leave it to a hotch potch of other bodies to indiscriminately meet our needs Of course, the City of Banyule has a key role to play in this direction, but if we as a community can galvanise through the revamped structure plan a strong and forceful vision, then we can be proud of what we have laid down for this generation and future generations.
Don Blackwood 21 April 2012