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31 Jan 2012

Facilities will be worth the wait Image

Docklands’ first real community facilities announced late last year should prove worth the wait, according to Lend Lease’s Victoria Harbour project director Claire Johnston.

Ms Johnston says the new library and community hub needs to be understood in the context of 21st century best-practice.

“A collection of books is only a tiny part of what is planned here,” she said. “It’s a three-storey building, housing meeting rooms, and is likely to include sound recording studio, outdoor children’s play area, teenage gaming facilities, commercial cooking spaces … the list goes on.”

“The context is community growth and development and libraries are one of the few remaining open public facilities,” she said.

Ms Johnston said that while the role of librarians was still to connect citizens with knowledge, the delivery mechanisms had evolved by light years in recent times.

“Modern librarians these days are across the digital technologies.  They are highly cultured people who are right up with music, books, art and theatre,” Ms Johnston said.

The library and community hub form part of a centralised civic precinct to be known as Dock Square, to be built at the intersection of Collins and Bourke streets.

Lend Lease won a bid against other Docklands developers last year after the City of Melbourne and Places Victoria (formerly known as VicUrban) concluded that they could not afford to build their own facility.

But the new facility is stand-alone and will be built within the $9 million that the council and Places Victoria have budgeted.  A separate budget has to be found to fund the fit-out, expected to cost another $3 million.

The development was submitted for planning approval on December 16.  It is expected that work will start in April.

Another aspect of Dock Square will be a community boating hub.  Ms Johnston says concept designs for this facility are well advanced, but specific funding details are yet to be determined.

An outdoor pool is another aspect which appeared alongside Dock Square in the Victoria Harbour master plan revealed in 2010.  Ms Johnston says this facility is still in the plan but, as a lower order priority, is yet to be funded.

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said the proposed location of the library and community hub was ideal and would be the cornerstone of a range of community infrastructure to be delivered in this part of Docklands.

“The proposed development is the result of a great partnership between the City of Melbourne, Places Victoria and Lend Lease, enabling us to deliver a first rate library and community centre for the people of Docklands,” Cr Doyle said.

“This proposed building is not just a piece of architecture in terms of sustainability and design, it is an important piece of urbanism. This is what the city has been trying to advocate for in Docklands, buildings and places that work for people.”

Managing director of Lend Lease’s development business in Australia, David Rolls, said Dock Square and, in particular, the proposed library and community centre, would help define the character of Victoria Harbour and the wider Docklands by bringing life to the heart of the precinct.

“Over the past two years we have been refining the Victoria Harbour vision and have placed a strong emphasis on creating vibrant, activated and appealing places for residents, workers and visitors,” he said.

“This proposed development at Dock Square will have the ability to evolve over time to suit the diverse needs of its users.”

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  • maggie at 12:56pm on 01/02/12

    This is fabulous !!
    Thank you for your hard work and commitment !
    1. community garden plots available for residents to grow lovely vegies
    2. outdoor movies summer at Dock Square
    3. a fountain in Dock Square for people to sit around -- spectacular, refreshing, no shortage of water - also along The Esplanade as part of the wind & sails sculptures.
  • Rose M at 1:57pm on 04/02/12

    Thrilled to have it finally decided but the location's poor - well out of the general public's eye! And the design? Looks like yet another box to me. Docklands could be the Barcelona of Melbourne - make it the home for innovative and creative buildings as started with 1010 LaTrobe. Take a risk! Make it different, truly different. Don't squander the opportunity.

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