Architect designs of the proposed plans for Central Highlands Regional Council's Blackwater Old Pool Precinct.
Architect designs of the proposed plans for Central Highlands Regional Council's Blackwater Old Pool Precinct.

FIRST LOOK: Major Blackwater parklands project to go ahead

THE first stage of upgrades to be carried out at the Blackwater Old Pool Precinct is expected to happen before July next year.

Councillors opted to approve the masterplan and the first allocation of funding at the Central Highlands Regional Council general meeting on Wednesday, July 22.

Manager Community Recreation and Facilities, Steven Gatt said the old pool precinct had been vacant since the aquatics centre was moved to Hunter St.

What the proposed site will look like when the project is compete.
What the proposed site will look like when the project is compete.

The masterplan for the revitalisation of the area includes enhancing the infrastructure, including the library, and making use of the open space that spreads to the Blackwater International Coal Centre.

The vision for the project was to renew and improve the site to regain its former presence and significance as a social hub to enhance the experience for visitors and locals alike.

The project is expected to turn the precinct into a hub of tourism, cultural and community life in Blackwater.

Architect designs of the proposed plans for Central Highlands Regional Council's Blackwater Old Pool Precinct.
Architect designs of the proposed plans for Central Highlands Regional Council's Blackwater Old Pool Precinct.

The $11 million 10-year plan has been broken down into seven separable packages, which are not expected to be delivered in order:

1. BICC parking and path in front of BICC

2. Open space between Japanese gardens and art precinct

3. Art precinct

4. Lions park

5. Library parklands

6. New office extension and renovation of existing office

7. Library, service centre, cafe

The first stage to be delivered in the 2020/21 financial year is the memorial garden (part of package 5), which will acknowledge the history of the site and cost about $150,000.

A total of $100,000 has been budgeted by council to commence the memorial gardens. A funding application has been lodged under the Growing Tourism Fund for $500,000 which could complete Package 5 with full embellishments.

General views of proposed library.
General views of proposed library.

However, if the funding application is not successful, a further $50,000 will be required by council to be allocated to this stage to allow the minimum requirements be completed.

Mr Gatt said each package could be amended as the project progresses, but the "overall plan is sound".

He said the entire site would have an irrigation upgrade and the entire space would be turfed.

The project will be subject to more community consultation moving forward.

Due to COVID-19 the project's scope was placed on hold to allow priority actions to occur as well as allowing the finalisation of the funding agreement and location for the Blackwater Skate Park.


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