With ceremonial ‘shiny shovels’ in hand for the ritual tossing in the air of the first sod, Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council Mayor, Cr Tim Overall and CEO Peter Tegart officially commenced construction on Queanbeyan’s new Civic and Cultural Precinct today.
Mayor Overall and Mr Tegart were joined by Matthew Wilkinson, ADCO Construction Manager and Dr Aunty Matilda House, highly respected local Elder, to kick off the much-anticipated project.
Mayor Overall said that the project was an essential component of Council’s CBD Transformation Strategy and will become a focal point for the community.
“This new precinct will provide linkages to The Q and the Bicentennial Hall and draw together a new library, public domain for civic events, conference meeting rooms and facilities, as well as create new basement car parking and provide a new head office for council staff.
“It is the catalyst that allows us to get on with the transformation of the CBD by freeing up council-owned properties for possible future development.
“It is a key project in bringing more people and vitality to the heart of Queanbeyan,”
Mayor Overall said.
Fencing will be installed throughout late July and early August to secure the construction site and make it safe for demolition and significant excavation to commence.
QPRC CEO, Peter Tegart said staff were beginning to prepare for the new office and facilities.
“Although the construction is expected to take approximately two years, council staff are already beginning to prepare for the way they will work in the new facility.
“The site on which the new precinct is being constructed was a previous council administration building and provides fond memories for long standing and former Council staff.
“Since moving out of the previous building in the early 2010s staff have been scattered across 11 buildings around the Queanbeyan CBD. Having those staff housed under the one roof in the future will provide enormous advantages including greater collaboration and increased productivity – all for the benefit of the Queanbeyan-Palerang community,” Mr Tegart said.
The sod turn event included a smoking of the ground by local Elder, Dr Aunty Matilda House to acknowledge ancestors and pay respect to past and present traditional custodians of the land.
As well as providing a new customer service centre for the community needing to interact or do business with Council, the precinct will include commercial lettable space for initiatives such as smart hubs and space for NSW Government offices.
The construction site extends from the vacant block at 257 Crawford Street, beside the Queanbeyan Council Chambers, into the Lowe Car Park. When the site is fully fenced, the parking spaces in the Lowe Car Park closest to the Queanbeyan Library will become unavailable. The lane to the car park from Rutledge Street, beside the Library, will also be closed.
While some parking spaces will be lost during the construction period, and temporary pedestrian access put in place, the project will ultimately deliver an increase of more than 60 parking spaces in the area.
Throughout the construction, several rows of parking will remain available in the Lowe Car Park closest to Monaro Street. Access to these spaces will be via Lowe Street. Council will be encouraging its own staff, and staff of nearby business premises, to make use of all-day parking at Queanbeyan Showground or Collett Car Park (near the bus interchange) during the construction period to help free up short stay parking for customers of nearby businesses.