The former McBride Avenue Campus site of the Wonthaggi Secondary College has been earmarked as the site of a new Wonthaggi Civic Centre but also with possible retail and medium-density residential.

 

THE devil, as they say, is in the detail. And that looks to be the case with the 98-page Wonthaggi Activity Centre Plan and 178-page Wonthaggi Access & Movement Study Plan which are set to be adopted at the Bass Coast Shire Council meeting later today.

While the Wonthaggi Business and Tourism Association has generally applauded council’s forward-thinking with its plans to upgrade and revitalise the Wonthaggi town centre, some members have raised concerns.

In an email to members this week, president of the WBTA Amy Easton has reported on efforts to get a better outcome on parking, especially in McBride Avenue which is in line for more pedestrian-friendly and bike-friendly features.

“Bass Coast Shire Council is holding a meeting on, Wednesday, April 21, 2021 at 1pm to vote on the passing of the proposed Wonthaggi Activity Centre Plan and Access and Movement Study,” Ms Easton told members.

“I believe it is in the interest of our business and community that this plan is progressed whilst there is funding being offered.

“But I am aware that traders have expressed their concerns and are opposed to the reduction in parking on McBride Avenue.

“Today, I have consulted with Cr Brett Tessari who is working towards an amendment to Wonthaggi Activity Centre Plan and Access and Movement Study to ensure further consultation will be had with the Wonthaggi Business and Tourism Association in regard to carparking options for McBride Avenue, Wonthaggi.

“I await the outcome of the meeting and will keep you all posted,” she said.

The Wonthaggi Activity Centre Plan, which is on the agenda to be adopted by council this week has been a long time coming. The subject of exhaustive community and stakeholder consultation, it is a comprehensive document covering all aspects of the town’s commercial district and surrounds.

A key aspect of the plan is what to do with the former Wonthaggi Secondary College site (McBride Campus), with the strong suggestion that the shire should extend its services into a new civic centre on the site.

“The site is strategically located in proximity to the retail core to the north; a future education precinct to the east; and various civic and recreational uses to the west including Wisharts Gardens and the Council office,” it says in the report.

“The site provides an opportunity for a key redevelopment site that further establishes the area as a civic hub that includes a mix of uses such as housing, retail, commercial and community uses.”

The report even goes so far as to suggest that two significant trees on the old school site should be incorporated, as a feature of the new civic building.

“The site has two large existing trees in the centre. These trees provide a unique setting for a potential internal courtyard for the future public building. The central courtyard will enable a permeable pedestrian network and enhance solar access into the building.”

The adoption of these two key strategic documents is one of the main items on a full agenda at the monthly council meeting which will still be held behind closed doors, in response to COVID restrictions, with interested members of the public able to watch the livestream from 1pm.