What will be included in the Community Centre and Library?

    The Centre will be a place for the community to come together to meet, create, learn, participate and celebrate. It will offer a range of spaces for hire that can accommodate everything from meetings with just a couple of people, through to large events. It will have offices that provide a base for groups and organisations delivering services and programs to the community. The range and layout of these spaces will be based on the needs expressed by the community as we go through the design process, as well as by current thinking and practice regarding excellence in facilities design.

    The Library will have flexible spaces for different activities, technology access and interesting and relevant library books, CDs, DVD and other resources. It will be staffed by skilled Library staff and may offer tailored services. 

    Where will the Centre be located?

    The Centre will be located at the Corner of King and Greene Streets. It includes lots between 54-68 King Street that Council is purchasing, as well as existing Council owned lots on Greene Street.

    What is the projected timeline for the Centre?

    The time frames shown below are Council’s best estimate at this point, of how the project will roll out. 

    These dates may change depending on a range of factors. 

    • Community engagement – March/April 2019
    • Concept design completed – early 2020
    • Community engagement on concept design -  Feb 2020
    • Detailed design, that includes a Development Application and Construction Certificate - Late 2022
    • Tender – 2023
    • Construction – 2024/2026

    What opportunities will there be to have a say throughout this project?

    There will be opportunities to provide input as we move through the planning and design stages for the Centre.

    The first stage is about defining the community’s vision and needs for the Centre – which has now been completed. We also checked in with groups and organisations that will be housed in the Centre or may be interested in running programs or offering services from there. 

    The second stage is to bring a concept design (or options) back to the community for comment. This is expected to be in early 2020.

    The final stage of detailed design will involve:

    ·  Discussions with any groups or organisations that will be housed in the Centre

    ·  the development of public art, and naming of rooms in the Centre

    ·  lodging the Development Application, which provides further opportunity to comment. 

    How does Council plan for libraries and community facilities across Wollongong?

    Council has a planning framework for social infrastructure that sets out guiding principles for the provision of community facilities. It uses a social needs model to assess the different needs for social infrastructure across the Wollongong Local Government Area. The framework aims to create community facilities that are welcoming, sustainable and accessible. 

    Council also has a strategy for libraries which sets out a long term plan for library services across the Wollongong Local Government Area. The strategy reflects community aspirations for libraries to be inviting spaces with dynamic collections, inclusive programs and technology that can build community capacity. It sets out a vision to engage community members to inspire reading, lifelong learning, creativity and inclusion.  

    What is the background to planning for the Southern Suburbs Community Centre and Library?

    Planning for district level facilities has been a long term project. The pursuit of a district level centre for the southern suburbs, commenced with an initial social needs analysis completed in 1998. In 2006 the Wollongong Planning People Places report committed Council to provide a district level facility for four nominated Council districts. Three of these facilities have now been delivered – Corrimal which had its 21st birthday celebrations in 2018, Dapto and Thirroul.

    In 2013 initial community engagement activities were undertaken for a district level centre to be built at Warrawong to serve the southern suburbs, work has continued since then investigating several site options to identify the most suitable site resulting in the location that has been determined.

    Where will the existing groups currently housed in the Community Centre buildings be housed during construction?

    The existing Warrawong Community Centre buildings (on Greene Street) which house the Illawarra Legal Centre, Warrawong Residents Forum, and Vietnamese Residents Association will be demolished prior to commencing construction of the new Southern Suburbs Community Centre and Library. 

    Assistance for the existing licensees to find suitable interim accommodation is a priority for Council, and discussions will be ongoing as we firm up the demolition date.

    Will there be an interim use of the new buildings and land area purchased, prior to construction commencing?

    There may be some interim use of the new buildings and land area prior to construction depending on purchasing negotiations.

    What assistance will Council provide any businesses operating from the buildings purchased?

    Council will continue to talk with impacted businesses about any assistance required up until the demolition of the buildings along King Street.

    What assistance will Council provide to any tenants of the buildings purchased?

    Any residential tenants in the buildings being purchased by Council to create a parcel of land for the Community Centre and Library, will be provided with assistance to find suitable accommodation if needed. This may mean working with public and other housing providers to explore housing options and assist in relocation.

    How does the Centre link in with the Town Centre Master Plan?

    The Master Plan was finalised in 2013 and identifies a new library and community centre as a key component of a transformed town centre with connected and convenient public places. The location identified at this time was focused on Cowper Street, but subsequent investigations meant this site was not suitable.  The site we have selected will  provide laneway access to Cowper Street.  It makes use of the  existing Council owned properties on Greene Street and will assist in activating the Warrawong township.

    Are other components of the Master Plan being implemented that link with the Centre?

    The major focus for Council is the renewal of Cowper Street and the laneways that connect to it. We aim to reduce the impact of traffic along Cowper Street, make it more pedestrian friendly, comfortable and safer for people to experience. 

    As the Warrawong CBD is affected by flooding we need to make sure any changes do not increase the risk of flood waters entering properties. Our engineers are assessing this risk and later in 2019 we will be able to firm up plans to be shown to the community. We will also be talking with Roads and Maritime Services about proposed traffic flow changes, as their approval is required.