Baw Baw Shire Council’s newly adopted Community Hubs Strategy will see Council work with communities to develop integrated community spaces that respond to their unique needs.
Based on community feedback provided during co-design workshops, 10 pop-up community consultation sessions, a service provider workshop, an online engagement hub, and written submissions received in response to the draft strategy, the adopted Strategy outlines suggested actions to develop new and better utilise existing community spaces over the next five years.
Among the suggested actions are a new Community Hub for Drouin, an integrated master plan for the civic precinct in Warragul, and an additional community space in Neerim South.
The action plan also lays out the need to improve access and connectivity between existing spaces in Trafalgar; improve mobile community services in in Erica, Rawson, Walhalla and surrounds; consider recommendations made for Bennet Street Reserve in Longwarry; support the activation of the Old School in Hill End; and consider opportunities to support community-led activation of the old Yarragon Primary School site.
Potential inclusions identified for the new Drouin Community Hub include a dedicated youth space, flexible creative spaces, early years services, business support, counselling services, a library, and outdoor spaces like a community garden, and community kitchen.
Council identified the need to explore the idea of Community Hubs through the Baw Baw 2050 Vision and during the development of the 2017-2021 Council Plan.
The strategy ensures community infrastructure across the Shire responds to the needs articulated by each community, rather than a one size fits all approach.
The Strategy is comprised of two parts:
The Aspirational Community Hubs Strategy 2019, which outlines the recommendations for each Baw Baw region, based on community feedback;
The Community Hubs Action Plan 2019-2024, which outlines how Council will progress the priority recommendations over the next five years.
Council will advocate for State and Federal Government funding to aid the delivery of integrated community spaces across the shire.
As stated by Mayor Cr Mikaela Power
“Community spaces are essential to support social connections, provide key services and promote community health and well-being.
“This strategy will guide the delivery of community spaces and ensure they are meeting the changing needs of our unique communities.”
As stated by Cr Jessica O’Donnell
“The community has really shaped this plan. Many areas of Baw Baw were consulted with and had conversations about their towns, what community meant to them, and what a hub meant to them.
“Drouin is a great beneficiary as we don’t have an existing community hub. We are a rapidly growing and populated municipality, and I’m very excited to have this in our portfolio of policies.”
As stated by Cr Keith Cook
“There was excitement in the air last April when the community of Drouin came together for the first workshop at Drouin RSL. 44 people attended, and the very first person to stand up and speak was a girl about 10-years-old, which was so exciting. It is great to see that so many people in our community have contributed to this strategy and are invested in its outcomes.”
As stated by Cr Michael Leaney
“I would like to thank all the people that contributed to this strategy. It’s important to note it’s not just about Drouin, it’s not just about Warragul – the shire was divided in to eight areas of interest. That was really important because every community has different needs, and every community has different solutions.”