Walker Place Redevelopment Project

Project Background

The Gawler Town Centre Design Framework was adopted by Council in November 2016 with the objective of building upon previous strategic level investigations. The precincts were defined as Gawler North, Gawler Central and Gawler South based upon varying character, both in terms of its principal land uses, built form and potential future.

This project intends to realise the vision of the Gawler Central Urban Precinct by providing a unique public realm for visitors and the community, connecting the mainstreet, shopping areas and open spaces with the potential to become the heart of the town, not simply a retail strip, but a centre point for placemaking and community activities.

The total project value is $2.31M and is funded in collaboration with the State and Federal Governments through the ‘Places for People’ Program (approx. $1M), the ‘Roads to Recovery’ Program ($206K) and a Council commitment of $1.1M.

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Broadly, the scope of the work within Walker Place includes:

* Creating a paved shared use space with a focus on pedestrian access;
* Modifying vehicle movements to reduce speed and guide drivers;
* Improving the parking layout (maintaining provisions for two disability parking bays);
* Increasing capacity and amenity (seating, shade, play, landscape, treatments);
* Improving footpaths and cycle links to the river corridor;
* Introducing catenary (feature) lighting arrangement to define the pop-up event space;
* Incorporating Smart Cities initiatives to compliment event functionality; and
* Improving the local stormwater network.

In addition to the works within Walker Place, the project scope includes:

* The design and construction of a new public toilet block at Apex Park; and
* Demolition of the existing public toilets on Julian Terrace; including provisions to retain the existing mural artwork.

We understand access, noise and traffic restrictions can have an impact on road users, businesses and residents. These impacts are a key focus during planning of the works and the Council will be working with the community to ensure all issues are managed and everyone is kept informed prior to and during the construction of the project. Enquiries on this project can be directed to the Project Team at any time via:

Email: walkerplaceredevelopment@gawler.sa.gov.au

We thank you in advance for your cooperation throughout the design and delivery of this exciting project for the Town of Gawler.

Project Update - What we’ve been doing?

Following the development of a Concept Design and the successful award of external funding, the Detailed Design of Walker Place commenced and is now nearing completion. Some of the investigations carried out to date include:

* Redevelopment of Walker Place as a pedestrian and vehicular shared plaza space;
* Design and construction of the new public toilets in Apex Park;
* Demolition of the existing public toilets on Julian Terrace; including provisions to keep the existing mural artwork; and
* Design, manufacture and supply of the Digital Wayfinding Sign.

The Gawler Town Centre Design Framework identifies three sites for future public toilets along Julian and Whitelaw Terrace in both the short and long term. Of the nominated sites, Apex Park has been prioritised for development as the lack of public toilets is currently impacting community use of the playground, open space and picnic areas.

Following the successful grant application for the Walker Place Redevelopment project, an assessment was carried out to examine three suitable locations on the river edge, adjacent to the playground and next to Julian Terrace. The assessment found that Julian Terrace was the preferred location as it increases the functionality of the park without impacting on the open space and amenity value of the area.

As the existing public toilets on Julian / Whitelaw Terrace has reached the end of asset life, the existing public toilets will be demolished and the new public toilets mentioned above will be constructed in Apex Park to address the current needs of the community. The demolition of the existing public toilets also enables an opportunity to develop new open space with tree planting, seating and public art as a focal point to the end of Walker Place. As there is existing community artwork fixed to the Julian / Whitelaw Terrace public toilets that will be demolished, Council staff followed the de-accessioning process defined within the Gawler Public Art Framework to consider the future of the community artwork.

As part of the de-accessioning review, Council established a Community Engagement Group comprising of key stakeholders to provide feedback on the future direction for the artwork. Given the significance of the artwork, the following three options were further investigated.

* Removing the mural, storing the artwork and relocating in the future;
* Removing completely and recommissioning the mural in the future; and
* Retaining the mural walls and removing the toilet structure.

Based on the outcomes of the investigations, including specialist advice regarding potential for damage and associated costs of each option, the Community Engagement Group unanimously supported the retention of the community artwork in its location as the preferred option and the development of a park around the artwork. It is therefore proposed that the walls surrounding the mural will be clad with a stone facade in keeping with the new public toilets proposed at Apex Park and the amenity of the river corridor.

Included within the broader project scope is an opportunity to incorporate a start-of-the-art Digital Wayfinding Sign to promote our local economy by encouraging innovation and supporting growth in-line with our commitment toward the Australian Government’s Smart Cities Plan. The Town of Gawler Council have commenced procurement and design of three innovative digital signs that will be installed at the Gawler Visitor Information Centre (outdoors), the Gawler Sport and Community Centre (indoors) and at Walker Place (outdoors) on completion of the major works. These signs will integrate with the Town of Gawler Council’s mCommerce initiatives and are being developed to include functionalities such as:

* Interactive wayfinding board;
* In app purchasing;
* Free national and international calls;
* Localised CCTV (asset protection);
* Charging points (240V AC & Wireless);
* Wi-Fi Hotspot (outdoor units);
* Potable water dispensing unit (Walker Place only);
* Public Automated Emergency Defibrillator (outdoor units);
* Advertising/Public Notification Capability;
* Demonstrated accessibility for age and mobility; and
* Demonstrated vandal resistance.

In summary, the following works are in progress:

The Detailed Design is being completed in preparation for review and finalisation. On completion of the design, the procurement of works will commence and a report will be presented to Council prior to delivery of major works in early 2020;

Further information relating to the proposed Apex Park Toilet Development and Retention of Community Artwork is now available for downloaded from the Town of Gawler “Your Voice” community engagement portal on the Town of Gawler website at: YOUR-VOICE and will be open to community consultation from 11 September 2019 through to 2 October 2019. A report will be presented to Council with regards to the outcome of the community feedback; and

The digital wayfinding signs are scheduled for installation and commissioning in late October / early November with the exception of the digital wayfinding sign to be installed at Walker Place post construction.

We will continue to make regular contact with you to provide updates about the project and the next stages of the project. Should you have any questions about these works, please don’t hesitate to contact the Walker Place Redevelopment Team via email: walkerplaceredevelopment@gawler.sa.gov.au