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FAQs - Assessment of a CBD location

Didn’t Council already undertake an assessment of a CBD site?

No. A comprehensive site selection, in accordance with the NHG project brief, was undertaken by consultants Denton Corker Marshall architects in 2018. This site selection identified two proposed sites (shortlisted from the initial eighteen investigated) - those being a CBD location and a site at the southern end of Lake Hamilton.

Concept designs and resource implications (preliminary cost plan) regarding both shortlisted sites were developed and presented as part of the initial project scoping study. The Lake Hamilton site was later resolved by Council in December 2018 to progress the project and subsequent business case and detailed site assessment completed. No further investigation of a CBD site was undertaken.

Will existing businesses be impacted (eg be required to be purchased) under scenarios explored for a CBD site?

No, they will not.

The assessment will be undertaken within the scope of the original 2017 project brief with additional CBD site parameters included. These parameters specifically indicate the requirement for private business and land to be excluded as part of the assessment.

Only freehold land for sale, or with a likelihood of being purchased via private treaty on mutually acceptable terms to both parties (ie not compulsory acquisition), will be considered within the scope of the assessment.

Why is the project brief from 2017 being used? Shouldn’t a new brief be written?

The previous body of work (both master planning and business case for a Lake Hamilton site) remains invaluable to the NHG project, and was developed in response to a detailed project brief.
The purpose of this new body of work (assessing a CBD location for the project), is to provide Council with comparative data and documentation regarding the project for the purpose of informed discussion and ultimately decision making.

To address the variances between a greenfield site (lake) and a urban setting (cbd), additional parameters have been developed. These cover the areas of site, design and business case including CBD benefit (urban renewal) and opportunity cost modelling.

Will a broader civic community space be considered in this assessment?

The potential for further development for a civic / community square is included within the additional parameters identified to be considered in this assessment.

Also addressed are two specific studies/strategies which focused on urban renewal, namely the Hamilton CBD Masterplan (adopted mid 2020), and the Brown Street Arts and Cultural Precinct Concept Plan of 2011.

The Lake Hamilton site was already selected and resolved by Council. Why is this assessment needed?

To have any likelihood of being delivered, the NHG Project will require significant Council and community support. Despite the 2018 Council resolution to progress the future planning of a NHG at Lake Hamilton, the current site selection remains a contentious issue. This in turn hampers community engagement and ‘buy in’ efforts.

Other work completed in parallel to the NHG project, namely the adoption of the CBD Revitalisation Masterplan in May 2020, have provided further discussion over the project and its outcomes. A core issue is the best method for Council to revitalise the CBD with its own investment.

In order to provide objective and fair assessment of site potential, a comparative assessment (master plan, concept design and business case) of the CBD Civic site (to match that of the Lake Hamilton site), would provide full details for the purposes of impartial and informed decision making.

Council elections are approaching in October 2020. Why not hold off on progressing this project until a new Council is elected?

This project began in 2017 and reasonably needs to be delivered. Delaying the momentum of the groundwork already achieved for the project will impact on the long term viability, and potentially delay the project for the long term.

Progressing the project via a comparative body of work to complement the existing assessment, will provide Council with comprehensive data in order to guide and inform the future planning and direction of the project and maximise the chance of success.

There is still much work to be done in order to see this project to fruition.

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