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Community Facilities Review - Cred Community Planning

In June 2011 Cred Community Planning undertook sessions with Government and Non Government Organisations regarding the SMDA & Housing NSW Redfern Waterloo Community Facilities Review. Below are the draft summaries circulated after the workshops. They give some indication of the issues raised by agencies in their consultations. There were no similar consultations with residents, residents who serve on the management committees of local agencies or resident groups such as REDWatch that we are aware of. In the absence of a report on the Facilities Review the draft summaries below are one of the few indication of the concerns raised by those who were consulted. In Housing NSW's Masterplan workshops there seems to be an assumption that some "one stop shop" facilities will best suit the needs of the community. Presumably Housing NSW, who was one of the originators of the study with the RWA, have access to the initial work on the Facilities Review which will now be covered in the Social Impact Scoping and Assessment being undertaken for the SMDA by GHD.

Redfern Waterloo Operational Area Social Infrastructure Plan Government workshop notes 29 June 2011

  • The Waterloo library is an important facility that is not well located and is single purpose. A library for the area needs to be located on a main street as part of a multipurpose facility/community hub with flexible space for different uses, in walking distance to population concentrations.
  • While services and programs for older people are a priority, the existing Council aged services facilities are single purpose, underutilised (although use has been increasing at Kepos Street) and poorly located. Council’s Blueprint for Ageing discusses new models for the provision of spaces for the delivery of programs and services for older people.
  • Access to low cost early education and care places is a priority.
  • Department of Education (DET) has capacity to cater for growth until 2016. There is current capacity at Glebe, Bourke Street, Gardeners Road and Alexandria Park schools for primary and at Alexandria Park and JJ Cahill for high schools. It appears likely that demand for school spaces from the North Eveleigh development can be catered for by Alexandria Park and Glebe Public School. The need for additional primary school spaces in the area needs to be addressed and planned for now. DET will only respond to the need once there is new ABS data to prepare projections. DET bases its planning on Council projects and assessment of their market share, as with the growth in the area the needs for additional school places is demand driven. There may be a need for something in Green Square in the future.
  • Need to not just think about what facilities will be needed in 2031, but the significant phases and lifecycles of the area during its redevelopment. How will this impact be dealt with? In particular, how will existing services and facilities deal with the potential increased demand for support during the journey from now until then?
  • The Facilities Plan needs to consider the short, medium and long-­‐term needs for social programs, services and infrastructure. It is also important to consider the support needs of people in the community, in particular people with mental health issues and people with disabilities during the disruption of the building periods, when some people may not cope
  • Medium to long term – how do we support the integration of new and existing residents through social infrastructure? The Plan needs to consider how social housing tenants currently relate geographically to Redfern and Waterloo and what this means in terms of future facilities. There is also a need to do some work on the impact of the changes in social mix. Integration of longer-­‐term social housing tenants and new residents in private housing may not happen naturally and this needs to be considered in terms of use of schools, childcare centres and parks. People will tend to go to places with other like-minded people and there is a risk of very large divides. It will be important to manage the whole process.
  • During the transition phase places where people have common interests will become important to building community relationships – e.g. schools, childcare centres, libraries. For example, a library can be a great unifier and break the barriers for different groups.
  • Therefore a new library and multipurpose community centre/neighbourhood centre could be provided in the short term as these spaces break down barriers and will contribute to community connectedness. The Minto example is a good one where the facility was developed as an integrated multi-purpose centre, not seen just as a public housing space.
  • Well-located community gardens can also support community relationships but do need to be properly resourced.
  • There need to be strategies for educating new residents, looking at how to encourage them to engage in their community and having services well skilled to address prejudices.
  • Planning for future facilities should consider whether they are local, district or regional and what this means in terms of neighbourhood building. Current standards indicate that 800m is walking distance to access facilities and services, and this standard could support a neighbourhood facility in both Waterloo and Redfern social housing areas. There is currently no neighbhourhood facility in Redfern and the facility in Waterloo (The Factory) is virtually outgrown. In considering future neighbourhood facilities, location is very important, as people need to be able to walk to them. It is also important to ensure that community facilities are integrated with outdoor public spaces.
  • There may be opportunities to use existing facilities and resources better to engage with the new and established communities e.g. use the facilities at Alexandria Park to engage new residents in the area.
  • As facilities need to be sustainable, and commercial activity can activate sites, community facilities should be co-located as part of a community hub with retail and commercial activities. This can also address safety concerns. Where possible it would also be good to offer people choice.
  • Community rooms in Housing NSW buildings pose some issues. Some are physically not suitable (e.g. in the new development on Moorehead St Redfern the two community rooms are too small for most uses). Some in older buildings are small and pokey and not in a good state and there are no current funds to upgrade them. There are also cultural issues of who'owns' them. It would be good in planning for these rooms in the future to explore options to make them more usable e.g. making some a wet room, having a kiln, having a number of rooms where different things can be done and usage could be improved or using these spaces as a community gym. If the'ownership' issues could be addressed there may be potential to do different activities and programs in different rooms.
  • The new Concierge program may also be able to support addressing ownership issues. A current barrier to usage is that agencies do not have resources or funding to run programs. There definitely needs to be some work done on how these community rooms might be developed and used in new buildings and how they can be reconfigured and made more attractive in existing buildings in the medium term. This can then be complemented by programming community rooms for community uses that are tenant run. This may include a wide range of activities, community gym, coffee shop and use for pop up exhibitions. The community spaces in the Wellington St shops may have potential for social enterprises involving tenants.
  • The Plan needs to look at ways young people can access primary health services and drug and alcohol services at venues that young people visit and feel comfortable in (spaces for young people)
  • It will be important to provide social infrastructure that supports older people getting out. Not just to an aged services space but to access low cost services such as getting their hair done, a cheap cup of coffee or lunch. Transport is important as is having community facilities in centralised locations. There could be opportunities to provide this through social enterprise and use facilities to create local jobs. This could be a short-­‐term outcome.
  • Facilities that provide innovative services for people with mental health issues and for family support are important. Soft entry points to these services through recreation, arts and sport are important in building trust.
  • Recreation and cultural programs are a good “in’ for groups that don’t trust other community services. Lack of these programs and local entertainment means that there are people experiencing extreme loneliness.
  • Need to investigate exactly what facilities are going to be provided at Pemulwuy.
  • Redfern Station is not accessible and needs to be improved with lifts
  • There are no toilets on Redfern Street
  • Good urban design is important to people feeling safe and participating in community life. The social infrastructure needs to be linked to safe and welcoming public open spaces and other community infrastructure that supports different groups in the community mixing in public places and meeting spaces. Characteristics that promote safety, or a perception of safety and at the same time encourage accessibility and connectivity, include lighting, surveillance, tree pruning, toilets and good urban design. A mix of social and commercial ventures on the one site, with good meeting spaces that are well designed for safety can support this. Giving people ownership may help people feel safe and will help make programs successful
  • The Police can play a role in engaging with all residents, including newer professional residents, as a way of reducing isolation.
  • Need to promote wider use of the NCIE by lower income residents and by non-­‐ Indigenous people within the community.
  • Important to engage locals in the development and planning of the community hubs (existing and new residents) with a view to providing better facilities and identifying opportunities for co-location.
  • Need to set directions for the master planning for the provision of adjacent public spaces to social infrastructure that will have a different range of users and enhance perceptions of safety.

Redfern Waterloo Operational Area Social Infrastructure Plan NGO workshop 15 June 2011

  • It is important that planning considers the future service needs of the area and how they can be accommodated within existing and new facilities. In terms of future facility needs, it was commented that the area needs to better utilise some of its existing facilities, houses should not be used as community spaces and future community facilities should be purpose built.
  • The question of the ability of existing schools to cope with future growth was raised by the group.
  • There needs to be flexibility in design of community facilities and in planning multipurpose facilities with co-located services. There also needs to be consideration of the needs of the different user groups (and how these groups can feel they belong), adequate storage and good design. Storage is very important in community facilities particularly where there are co-locations or multiple programs. The groups also felt that a multi-purpose centre needs to have a service in it to facilitate the activation of the space. Good design is important if programs for young people are going to operate in shared spaces and if different sorts of programs are going to be co-located in multipurpose facilities.
  • Linkages and safe paths of travel to facilities need to be part of the planning .
  • South Sydney Community Aid needs to be better located with a place within the Redfern area to provide a range of programs and services for the community in Redfern (the area it has traditionally serviced) and which now has no neighbourhood centre. Needs more suitable space with kitchen and for information sharing. They could see opportunities for a building with a few services or for other services to co-locate or outreach around a neighbhourhood centre, to best use space.
  • The Settlement is has some funding for renovation works and a creative re-adaptation of their space. People come back as they have a connection to The Block.
  • Alexandria Park Community School has lots of spare land and could potentially be used more for community uses. The Community Centre there needs space for storage and also better transport to get people to programs. It will continue to need different spaces for programs for families with young children and will need to grow with the growing population and growing school community.
  • Weave Children’s and Family Centre will not be big enough to cope with future growth in the community and the additional space that will be required to deliver Domestic Violence and parenting services.
  • There is a need with the growth in the area for additional facilities for childcare centres and OOSH services.
  • Waterloo has a much higher density of social housing in a smaller geographic area than Redfern. A multipurpose community facility that can accommodate a range of services is very important for this area. Being in walking distance to target clients is essential.
  • The Factory provides a co-location for a number of outreach services. Small groups using the centre have increased and there is a need for space that is more adaptable. Current issues are contents, security of tenure with no option to renew lease, and the need for maintenance and to upgrade to a much larger building. The Factory needs a larger building with security of tenure, with office space, counselling space and spaces for different services. An ideal centre would be multipurpose with a range of different spaces and also with spaces for crisis services, medical services, counselling and a discrete entry.
  • Fact tree needs a better space for young people with connection to outdoor space (drop in space), private space to meet clients or for counselling and office space for staff. Drop in space needs to be able to cater for the changing recreational interests of young people. Fact tree is not convinced that a youth service would work in a co-location situati on, as young people need a comfortable and appropriate visual environment, like to have high volume noise and generally programs have equipment that cannot be easily moved. Young people also need spaces that they can congregate without fear of being asked to move on. Elderly people can be resistant to young people. Design of facilities for programs for young people also need to take on board safety issues for young people. To co-locate would require very good design
  • There is a need for more crisis accommodation in the area. It was suggested that underutilised accommodation at NCIE could be used for this through a partnership between NCIE and FaCS.
  • There should be computers available in a wide range of spaces. Low access to the internet prevents people acce ssing information, paying bills, applying for jobs and searching for jobs. It also prevents children and young people studying effectively.
  • There is a need for performance spaces -­‐ it was suggested that school halls and town halls could be better utilised for this purpose.
  • There needs to be more spaces in the community for arts practices -­‐ studio, exhibition, rehearsal space that is accessible.
  • Weave has been developing an arts centre for older people and young people with mental health issues. Arts programs such as this that are purpose driven do need a large space.
  • People with mental health issues need safe spaces that are connected to doctors and medical services. This could be in a multipurpose facility where there are other activities and programs.
  • There is a need for a community meeting space in the area that can be used by NGOs for meetings, events and functions and community performances and is affordable. This would need to cater for 50-­‐100 people and be accessible with entry access suitable for older people and people with mobility issues to be transported by bus with easy access into the venue. It would need to have good acoustics and be available for rent at a reasonable fee.
  • The need to ensure that any multipurpose facility has space for staff and a lunch room was raised.
  • A warehouse space for redistribution of food for recycling and with a sustainability focus would be good. Fits with the existing popular bike program.
  • Social enterprise opportunities would benefit the community.
  • Training spaces would be good and TAFE could do courses on site.
  • Housing NSW community rooms are too small -­‐ tenant groups and agencies providing services for tenants needs larger spaces and the co-location of services
  • Must consider the relationship between the community building and urban domain. Should be linked by pedestrian and bike pathways and public transport.
  • The existing HACC facility in Redfern is no longer viable, as it is overcrowded, cannot accommodate growth in programs and has tenuous tenure. Needs a new facility including a depot for vehicles, shared transport space, outdoor space with a linkage between indoor and outdoor space.
  • Need for better facilities for dementia day care – the only service is Catholic Health Care in Joynton Ave.
  • Future service planning needs to consider ageing in place (or at least in the region). This impacts on future housing design, with the need for more units where people can live with appropriate care and support.
  • There is very limited residential aged care in the area. The new Mission Australia facility will only have 79 beds and entry criteria.
  • Work sheds would be good in the area and could open opportunities for social enterprises (e.g. a men's shed).
  • There is a need for casual spaces to meet besides shopping centres.
  • Building connections between new and existing residents will be vital and there will be a lot of stress in the community during the redevelopment phase. Service providers need to think about how they service the whole community, cater for different interests, different generations and engage with newer residents who have skills and resources. Community centres could be the connector.
  • There needs to be strong client voice in design of future facilities.
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