The new and upgraded community facilities in Croydon and Ringwood are priority actions in Maroondah’s Council Plan, and include the redevelopment of new community facilities in the Croydon Civic Precinct over stages; an upgrade of Karralyka; and a consolidation of Council’s administrative functions at an expanded Realm in the Ringwood Metropolitan Activity Centre.
The first step in the development of these new facilities is about to commence, with the construction of the extension of Realm in Ringwood, enabling the consolidation of the administrative functions currently undertaken at the Braeside Avenue and Croydon Civic offices.
These current office buildings are both over 50 years old and require extensive capital funding to bring them up to modern day standards, including digital technology, accessibility and sustainability standards.
The consolidation of Council’s administrative functions at Realm will enable the Croydon Civic Precinct upgrade to become a reality, creating new and upgraded community facilities in the Croydon Activity Centre.
The opportunity to locate a consolidated Council administrative base within the Ringwood Metropolitan Activity Centre (MAC) aligns with Victorian Government objectives and provides one central location for our community with better public transport links.
The Ringwood MAC is recognised by the Victorian Government for the important role it plays to both its local community, and to the outer eastern regional community of Melbourne.
The Ringwood MAC is second only to Melbourne CBD on the Plan Melbourne hierarchy, which identifies that activity centres should be planned to provide good access to a range of major retail, community, government, entertainment, cultural and transport services, with a focus for higher density development.
Since its opening in October 2015, Realm has proven to be a highly successful community facility in the heart of Ringwood. Open to the community 7 days a week, it includes Council’s customer service, library, and business hub; and provides significant community and art spaces, as well as community meeting rooms.
An extension to this building offers a cost-effective integration of Councils services, functions and civic activities, while also providing improved access for the Maroondah community.
Timing and funding
In September 2018, Council advised that three Council Plan priority actions – the first stage of a redeveloped and revitalised Croydon Civic Precinct, an upgrade to Karralyka, and an extension of Realm – be implemented over the next 2 to 5 years. The delivery of further stages of the Croydon Civic Precinct would occur over the next 5 to 10 years.
The Realm extension site preparation works will commence over the next week, with construction expected to commence in early August and completed mid 2020.
The existing Realm and Ringwood Town Square were both established through an agreement that included exchanging the former Ringwood Plaza Library site for the construction of Council’s Ringwood Town Square and the 3400sqm Realm library, community and service centre, art gallery, co-working and business hub. This was successfully completed at no cost to the Maroondah community. Council will achieve a similar outcome for the extension of Realm, without borrowing extra money, impacting rates, or any cuts to Council’s services to the Maroondah community.
Croydon Civic Precinct
Initial preparation for a Croydon Civic Precinct masterplan commenced over 18 months ago, and has included consultation with key user groups and stakeholders in the precinct.
Those consultations have progressed well and a draft plan is being developed that involves the consolidation and integration of facilities in the precinct, which proposes the establishment of two new fit for purpose Community Hub buildings.
It is proposed that the first community hub could accommodate the Croydon branch Library, Council service centre, a business hub, a centre for community wellbeing, all community groups currently in the precinct, as well as providing space for other community groups to call the Community Hub home. Council received $2 million in funding towards the development of this hub from the Federal Government this year.
The second proposed hub could accommodate an integrated family and children’s centre, including Maternal & Child Health services.
The upgrade of Karralyka involves a proposed $10 million redevelopment which will enhance and expand the existing facility. This includes a new entrance and foyer; outdoor paved terraced area leading from the function rooms; accessibility improvements; an additional function room and a new video-conferencing board room, both of which will enable Karralyka to increase its offering for training and conference activity.
In addition, the many disability groups in the east that use Karralyka for functions and performances will have improved accessibility and facilities for its participants and supporters. Council is seeking funding support from the Victorian and Federal governments towards this redevelopment.