The Flinders Community Association has for some years sought some means of improving the Flinders Civic Hall. We were delighted when the Infrastructure Planning team starting meeting with us and other stakeholders last year, and we appreciate Council’s time and effort in developing concept plans since then. We understand that community consultation has fed into the concepts now under consideration.
We have listened to feedback from our FCA members, and we are firmly of the view that Option 1 should be further developed, and Option 2 should be abandoned.
Moving the Hall into the Park, as proposed in Option 2, has some significant disadvantages.
- It decreases the size of the Park by some 15%. The site was substantially improved in 2014 in accordance with the Flinders Park Master Plan. The Park is well-used by both residents and visitors, and includes a very popular, spacious and well-designed play space for children.
- Entry to the Hall from a quiet residential street would have a significant negative impact on the tranquillity and ambience of the neighbourhood.
- Off street parking is limited to 20 spaces. This has the potential to cause both traffic and parking problems in narrow Bass Street.
We strongly prefer Option 1. The current location is central to village life, placed squarely in the main street, opposite the Park and near shops and the post office. There is space available for expansion, and adequate street parking. The orientation of the Hall is changed to run east-west, which enables crowd to overflow on to the verandah for big occasions such as ANZAC Day. We note that on the latest floor plan the Hall itself is substantially larger, 2 meeting rooms are provided, public access to toilets is available at all hours, and that the entry to the Hall remains on Cook Street with an enlarged entry area. The proposed Stage is smaller (28.5 sq.m. compared with 47.90 sq.m. for the existing Hall) and not raised. Our view is that a raised stage is essential for meetings and performances.
Once detailed feedback has been received and assessed by the Infrastructure Planning team and further changes made, we look forward to the third iteration of the concept plan, focusing exclusively on the existing site. At this stage we suggest that attention be given to aesthetic considerations, showing the outside appearance of the building via elevation drawings. It would be helpful to know the materials intended to be used in construction, the plans for the interior allowing natural light, and the provision of outside views to Hall users. This is an important building in the centre of the town. It should be appropriate to the character of Flinders and it should be in harmony with the surrounding landscape and streetscape.
The Council got it right with the redevelopment of the Park in 2014. The challenge now is to achieve equal success with the Hall.