The Northern Grampians Shire Council formally endorsed the precinct plan for upgrades to Market Square in St Arnaud at Monday’s ordinary council meeting.
The plan forms part of the wider St Arnaud Civic Precinct Plan that encompasses Market Square, Queen Mary Gardens and the St Arnaud Town Hall.
The Market Square Precinct Plan has been informed by extensive engagement, consultation and positive community benefit of the spaces and the aspirations of the community in relation to their future use.
The plan identifies goals and directions by precinct, as well as by issue including paths and access, fit for purpose, presentation and interface with inclusive play facilities.
The plan provides an overview of the spaces that will guide Council in future strategies to develop and manage the precinct for the best outcomes for the community.
The key aspects of the plan include:
- Remove the existing sound shell and create a new performance space further south. This location will take advantage of the natural amphitheatre shape of the sloped lawn in the park.
- The mature trees, large lawn area, mosaic wall, shade sails and existing play equipment will be retained and protected.
- New play equipment for older children and people with a disability will be installed along with new signage to help people locate and use the park.
- Existing seating to be replaced with accessible contemporary furniture and current toilets will be upgraded to be more accessible for people with a disability.
- Upgrades to the car park to increase safety and accessibility of the park overall.
Council, assisted by Jeavons Landscape Architects, engaged with the community through online and paper surveys, focus groups, on-site tours, presentations, workshops and more to identify the needs and wants of the community.
The upgrades to the park contained in the precinct plan will be rolled out in staged implementation or as one project over the next five years.
The first stage will include constructing a community barbeque area alongside existing play area, installing new seating, and landscaping works expected to be complete by midway through July 2020.
Northern Grampians Shire Council Mayor, Murray Emerson, said the precinct plan is a triumph of community and Council working together to find the best outcome for everyone.
“Through extensive communication and consultation, we believe this plan absolutely delivers what the community is looking for in Market Square,” he said.
“With a focus especially on accessible equipment, the new and improved Market Square will allow the space to be used by every member of our community.
“I want to thank everyone who took the time to provide their feedback and had their say on what the future of Market Square will be. “I am looking forward to seeing this project progress along with the rest of the St Arnaud Civic Precinct Plan.”