Drouin Community Hub

Background

The need for Community Hubs, particularly in Drouin, was identified as a key community priority in the development of the Baw Baw Shire Council Plan 2017-21.

Drouin’s population grew by 27 per cent between the 2011 and 2016 census dates, and Baw Baw Shire is Victoria’s third fastest growing regional centre. Social infrastructure has not matched this rate of growth and community engagement has identified a lack of spaces where people and groups can meet and hold events in Drouin.

Current scenario

Drouin has a higher proportion of disengaged young people and a higher rate of migration than other communities within the Shire. Drouin’s anticipated growth further supports the need for a community gathering place as new residents move to the town and seek to make meaningful connections.

During 2019, Council finalised the Community Hub Strategy, co-designed with the community. A Community Hub for Drouin was a key action, with suggested integration of features including, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Library
  • Early childhood centre
  • Outdoor space
  • Arts and culture
  • Community meeting space
  • Youth programs

Initial community feedback established that the Community Hub should be an inclusive, multi-use facility with a diverse offering of services and activities. It could be a place that residents can source information and access health services, youth services and aged care. Council considers Community Hubs important social infrastructure vital to the ongoing well-being of its residents.

Project status

Council will pursue funding for a new multi-use pavilion at Bellbird Park and upgrade the Drouin Senior Citizens Hall facilities to deliver key community spaces for the town.

The decision follows community consultation in mid-2020 to identify suitable sites and the key features required for a hub to meet the needs of user groups into the future.

Costings for six possible options for new and substantially renovated facilities were brought to Council for consideration, with each design exceeding the project’s $6.9 million budget.

At its meeting on Wednesday 24 February, Council resolved to take an alternative approach and instead prioritise improvements to existing Council-owned buildings and plan for the development of the Bellbird Park Multi-use Pavilion. Both options will offer the community much-needed meeting spaces, facilities and technology.

Preliminary concepts for the Bellbird Park Multi-use Pavilion have been developed to form part of a funding application to the Victorian Government’s 2020-21 Growing Suburbs Fund. If successful, Council will be required to contribute $2 million towards the $4 million project.

The current design includes a multi-use space for up to 150 people, a commercial kitchen and two meeting areas.

Upgrades to the Drouin Senior Citizens Hall on Oak Street will aim to complement the pavilion, creating a medium-sized space close to the town centre for the community to book for meetings and activities when not in use by the Senior Citizens group. Council will work closely with the existing tenants of the building to develop concept designs for the project.

Previous project updates

October 2020 Update

Architects engaged by Council have prepared initial floorplans/concepts and cost estimates for a number of potential community hub sites.

These concepts as well as a number of shortlisted potential locations were the subject of community and stakeholder consultation in June and July 2020. The feedback has provided important input into the potential community hub sites, the facilities and functions to be included and how their development can be staged.

The preferred location and key functionality for the Drouin Community Hub will be considered by Council following the upcoming Council elections.

December 2019 Update

The Community Hubs Strategy has two main parts:

On 10 July 2019, Council at its Ordinary meeting adopted the Community Hubs Strategy as presented.

As a result of the workshops from the Community Hubs Strategy, a high-level design intent that includes design principals, functional requirements and spatial relationships was established. The individual functions identified through the codesign process have translated into functional requirements.  

Council officers undertook a spatial planning exercise based on the identified functional requirements and relevant standards/best practice. In order to gain better understanding of the spatial requirements and service provisions in a hub, Council Officers visited neighbouring Council to view similar hubs and to learn about experiences faced. The hubs visited were :

  • Moe Service Centre & Frank Bartlett Memorial Library (Latrobe City Council)
  • Emerald Community Hub (Cardinia Shire Council)
  • Selandra Community Hub (City Of Casey)

Council is currently evaluating fee proposals for architects to undertake some initial floorplans/concepts for a number of potential community hub sites. It is anticipated the architects will be appointed during December and that design works will commence early in January 2020.