Council, at its Special Meeting held 3 May 2012, received the Draft South Wangaratta Urban Renewal Strategy and resolved to place it on public exhibition for comment up to 25 May 2012.
The draft South Wangaratta Urban Renewal Strategy aims to re-invigorate this prominent inner urban area and maximise its’ potential by planning for future patterns of use that are efficient, sustainable and maximise broader community benefit.
The study area consisted of the land generally bound by Handley Street to the north, Greta Road to the east, Newman Street to the south and Tone Road to the west. Four redundant and/or underutilised key sites formed the basis of detailed assessment including Avian Park Raceway, the former Ovens College campus, the former Council owned landfill site at Vincent Road and the redundant industrial site adjoining the Bunnings development in Newman Street.
The Rural City of Wangaratta’s 2030 Community Vision states:
“To ensure sustainable and appropriate development, the Rural City of Wangaratta will adopt carefully considered long term planning for commercial, industrial and residential areas. Urban sprawl will be contained through focussing new developments within existing area”.
This is further reinforced in both the Hume Strategy for Sustainable Communities and the Rural City of Wangaratta’s Council Plan objective:
“To reinvigorate the inner urban areas of Wangaratta to maximise their potential.”
Following formal advice from the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development of their intent to dispose of the former Ovens College site in Greta Road, the Rural City of Wangaratta determined to undertake a master plan to guide the future of the South Wangaratta Precinct.
A comprehensive study brief was prepared, with funding support from Regional Development Victoria’s “Planning for Tomorrow” initiative. Highly credentialled urban designers Aurecon, together with economic analysis Matters More, were appointed to prepare a strategy and master plan.
The study brief required the consultants to:
The four key sites, whilst currently redundant from previous use or significantly under-utilised, afford substantial opportunities and specific issues.
Key Site One (Redundant Manufacturing Site), alongside the existing Bunnings outlet in Newman Street, has the ability to act as a bulky goods homemaker destination for Wangaratta, which in itself will stimulate additional floorspace and allow for local comparison shopping. It should be noted that the site is in private ownership and any development will be progressed at the owners discretion.
The market demand assessment found that Key Site 1 has the ability to accommodate bulky goods retail floor-space demand until at least 2026, after which an area for future expansion is likely to be required. It is recommended that the adjoining Council Depot site and RSPCA depot be investigated for future bulky goods retail development at such time as demand permits.
Key Site Two (Avian Park) is a crown land reserve with an appointed Committee of Management. The recommendations have identified substantial capacity within the site to undertake a broad range of sporting activities. The master plan recommends that the future use of Avian Park focus around rejuvenated harness racing facilities together with complementary sport, recreation and community infrastructure.
It should be noted that the indicative infrastructure development costs and track configurations required to meet the minimum standards for operation of a sanctioned greyhound racing track in Victoria render the return of greyhound racing to the Avian Park site unviable.
Key Site Three (Vincent Green - Former Landfill Site) this site presents a number of challenges in considering future use and development options. Notably, Council’s environmental assessment has just commenced, therefore future use and development options are dependent on the outcome of this assessment. In particular these include the extent of site contamination and the uncompacted nature of the fill and possible methane gas emission.
In considering these challenges and the urban renewal goals for the precinct, it is submitted that the most appropriate future use of the land is as a local park. A local park offers the ability to create a focus for the residential neighbourhood at the northern end of the study area, increasing the provision of public open space, providing for north-south pedestrian and cycling links and buffering the residential neighbourhood from any future industrial development to the west along Vincent Road.
Key Site Four (former Ovens College campus) generated significant interest from a range of stakeholders throughout the consultation process including: health, education, emergency services, and community groups.
A market demand assessment for housing and student accommodation undertaken as part of the master planning process identified a demand for short term accommodation within Wangaratta for students and other users such as business travellers or sports competitors. The demand for student accommodation in Wangaratta will grow over time as education providers such as GOTAFE and Charles Sturt University increase their education offer. Key Site 4 offers the ability to locate a dedicated student accommodation village within close proximity to services and infrastructure within Wangaratta.
The master plan recommends that Key Site 4 be used to accommodate a range of civic/community uses, together with private short term accommodation facilities and student accommodation.
Copies of the Draft South Wangaratta Urban Renewal Strategy can be downloaded (see below) or can be viewed at the Wangaratta Government Centre, corner Ford and Ovens Streets, Wangaratta.
Public submissions on the Draft South Wangaratta Urban Renewal Strategy should be
Rural City of Wangaratta,
PO Box 238,
WANGARATTA VIC 3676
emailed to :
Submissions close on Friday 25 May 2012.
For further information please contact Council on (03) 5722 0888 and ask for Graham Nickless.