A consultant will soon begin work on creating a vision for an ambitious civic and cultural precinct in the Bunbury CBD that is aimed at increasing the city’s social and economic vibrancy.
Bollig Design Group was on Tuesday awarded the $122,100 contract by Bunbury City Council to provide a business assessment and concept design of the precinct, which centres around the Wittenoom Street car park.
Key goals of the City of Bunbury project are activating community spaces, providing pedestrian-friendly linkages and creating long-term parking solutions while encouraging and developing new business.
The precinct would capture the area containing the council administration building, Bunbury Regional Art Galleries and Wittenoom Street car park (South’s car park).
Three discreet projects make up the precinct plan - a Wittenoom Street pedestrian connection, creation of a “Gallery Square” public open space, plus the construction of a multi-level car park.
Bunbury Mayor Gary Brennan said appointing a consultant to carry out the work was the next step in a thorough process to determine the best options for the precinct.
“There has been extensive consultation already with many sectors of the community, including a working group that identified a perceived lack of parking in the CBD which was impacting on the viability of existing businesses and creating an impediment to new development,” Mr Brennan said.
“We have also spoken to members of the public and held a forum to gauge people’s ambitions and expectations in regards to any precinct development, and this has helped us to provide a brief for the consultants to work from.”
Mr Brennan said the precinct offered an opportunity to think outside the square while also taking into account the future needs of the city.
“Developing a creatively-designed car park as part of a civic and cultural precinct is an essential component as it creates not only parking for the activation of the area, but importantly provides additional parking for existing and future businesses across the CBD,” he said.
Mr Brennan said many options were on the table, including closing part of Wellington Street to activate an under-utilised section of garden in front of BRAG.
“Any road closures would require a change in traffic flows around the CBD, including potential one-way sections along Prinsep and Wellington streets,” he said.
It is anticipated the consultants will take around 16 weeks to complete the work with the outcomes to then be considered by Bunbury City Council.