Council Report: Port Campbell Town Centre Project Update

Published on 22 March 2022

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Item 9.4 Port Campbell Town Centre Revitalisation Project Update

Author: Rory Neeson, Manager Growth and Engagement

Summary

The Port Campbell Town Centre Revitalisation Project is the largest single project that Corangamite Shire has undertaken that seeks to strengthen and improve the functionality and amenity of Port Campbell’s town centre.

It specifically addresses the public realm component of Port Campbell and proposes investment in upgrading and improving areas including the streetscape of Lord Street, Tregea Street, Morris Street and the foreshore area along Cairns Street.

Throughout this process Council has been working with Hansen Partnership with the aim of delivering a world class tourism product while ensuring the streetscape has improved functionality and better meets the needs of locals, especially in peak tourism times.

The project seeks to re-position Port Campbell at the heart of the Shipwreck Coast, while still meeting the needs of the local community.

This report provides an update to Council on the various components of the project currently being completed in the lead up to construction commencing later this year.

Introduction

The purpose of this report is to provide an update to Council and the community on the progress of the Port Campbell Town Centre Revitalisation Project.

Issues

Major Project Milestones and Timeframes

  • August - December 2017 – Consultation commences for the project
  • January - February 2018 – Draft Concept Plans exhibited
  • March - June 2018 – Feedback from Draft Concept Plans reviewed to inform next stage of the project.
  • August - September 2018 – Review of plans by Office of the Victorian Government Architect
  • February 2019 – Revised Draft Concept Plans exhibited
  • March 2019 – Council adopts Concept Design Plan
  • August/September 2019 – Schematic Design Plan consultation period
  • November 2019 – Council adopts Schematic Design Plan
  • February - July 2020 – Design Development Report including detailed Tender documentation completed
  • August 2020 – Council adopts Design Development Report
  • March/April 2021 – Funding applications prepared for State and Federal Government
  • June 2021 – State Government announces $6,000,000 in funding for the project.
  • October 2021 – Federal Government announces $5,599,278 in funding for the project allowing the project to proceed.
  • December 2021 – Tender released for project.
  • February 2022 – Tender closes for project.

Key Features

The project as approved by Council in August 2020 can be described as follows:

Lord Street (south)

This section of the plan retains the existing layout of the Fisherman’s Car Park area and pier access with some minor landscaping improvements. It also looks to build on the existing trail network at the headland.

New pavement treatments for both the road and footpath areas are proposed that are a mixture of exposed aggregate concrete paving and granite paving. Gardens beds and plantings will be added through the street and parking areas retained with slight changes to positioning.

A major addition in response to positive feedback and consultation will see the installation of circular timber decking platforms/picnic areas added under the Norfolk Pines.

Lord Street (north)

This section of the plan sees the most significant changes to the business district of Port Campbell. The plan includes the removal of the current roundabout at the Cairns Street intersection and the designation of Lord Street as the right of way.

Major features of Lord Street North include the installation of rain gardens, new garden beds and plantings in accordance with water sensitive urban design, accessible decking entrances to businesses, tree plantings and pavement treatments including concrete cobblestone pavers and exposed concrete. Parking is consistent with previously adopted plans with extensive improvements to street furniture and fittings.

Cairns Street (west, foreshore)

The section of the plan sees parking remain the same as existing conditions with 90 degree parking retained for views to the beach but a similar design to Lord Street in terms of the garden bed design extending through pavement into the parking areas with new plantings. Retaining 90 degree parking provides entry to these parking spaces from both directions of traffic in this street.

Outdoor dining is provided in front of businesses in the street and new picnic areas included with improved access paths and low ground plantings along the foreshore.

A new accessible walking/pedestrian path will be installed throughout the grassed area using existing gradients, with a natural amphitheatre created next to the existing Norfolk Pines.

Extensive improvements to street furniture, and fittings continue from Lord Street in the form of seating, barbeques, tables, water fountains, bicycle parking and rubbish bins.

Tregea Street

Additional parking is a feature of this section of the plan with further parking bays added.

The existing road surface is retained for this section of the project with a granite paver proposed for footpaths. A zebra crossing has been added to allow a safe pedestrian crossing point in front of the Port Campbell Brewhouse that also allows for better linkage to the caravan park.

New plantings are proposed in sections between the slightly realigned car parks and a new footpath helps link Morris Street back to the northern end of Lord Street.

Former Great Ocean Road (Surfers Carpark)

This part of the project sees the addition of a more formal gravel parking area with an overflow grassed section for use mainly by locals when checking the surf/tides.

Along the walking track, new timber lookouts / viewing platforms will be built with the path to stay in the existing road reserve to avoid the removal of any native vegetation.

This section creates a more defined link to the Great Ocean Walk and will help provide a better entrance for pedestrians to the southern end of Lord Street.

Town Entry / Traffic Calming

A key feature of the plan is to change the main entry point to the town through the removal of the current roundabout on the Great Ocean Road to make Morris Street the main entry point for visitors to the town.

To do this a new intersection has been developed that encourages a sweeping right hand turn into Morris Street when entering the town from the east, significantly reducing traffic volumes into Cairns Street.

A variety of traffic calming solutions are also proposed along Cairns and Morris Street to slow traffic as it approaches Lord Street.

Pavement Design

One of the most significant features of the town centre is the installation of paving from building line to building line in Lord Street. This will provide a shared pedestrian/vehicle space, designed to substantially slow vehicle traffic and prioritise pedestrian movement.

The colour and aggregate of the pavers, 250mm wide but with various lengths, alludes to the limestone coast. All the pavement is to be laid perpendicular to the road direction using a random offset pattern.

Planting and Planter Boxes

Another major feature of the design is reference to sand dune forms with the design theme used in Lord Street through a mixture of raised, partially raised and ground level planter boxes. Built from solid limestone blocks, the planters reinforce the undulating nature of the dunes, with flat sections providing timber seating areas.

Where the ‘dunes’ are located entirely at ground level, a 240mm wide paving strip wraps around the border of the planting area.

The planting reinforces the design theme. It draws on the characteristic coastal dune planting and extends this into the town centre. Species comprise Australian indigenous plant species, selected to ensure their survival in this location, while bringing colour, texture and interest into the main street.

Sustainability and Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD)

Sustainability is a key feature of the project. Sustainability is embedded in the design as follows:

  1. Use of local indigenous plant species where practicable, and otherwise Australian indigenous species, supporting local habitat
  2. Use of locally manufactured and sourced materials
  3. Creation of a pedestrian focussed environment
  4. Selection of plants and materials resilient to the impacts of climate change, and
  5. Inclusion of WSUD as a key component of the design solution.

The WSUD design includes numerous rain gardens that span the length of both Cairns and Lord Streets. These provide catchment for the one in ten storm events, ensuring that water is cleaned by select rain-garden plant species, and then recharges the existing ground water.

The raingardens reduce the amount of hydrocarbon chemicals left by motor vehicles from entering the Port Campbell bay, and similarly reduce the first flush impact of storms that contribute to water pollution.

Lighting

The lighting consists of pole mounted lights running the length of Lord Street, providing high quality – but low intensity light to pedestrian areas. These lights contribute to a clearly articulated spine of lights running the length of the street and contributing to the Port Campbell night character.

Similar fittings are located along the northern side of Cairns Street providing light to the general pavement areas but avoiding light spill into the foreshore reserve which is intentionally kept free of overhead lighting. Some low level bollard lights assist with navigation along the foreshore path.

Regional Roads Victoria (RRV) standard light fittings are retained for the Great Ocean Road including Morris Street, the Morris Street - Lord Street intersection and Lord Street exiting Port Campbell to the north in line with conversations with RRV.

Furniture and Fittings

A new suite of furniture and fittings is envisaged for the street. These include the following:

  • Bike racks (two types proposed)
  • Bollards
  • Rubbish and recycle bins
  • Dog waste facilities
  • Bench seats
  • Drinking fountains with dog bowls
  • Wireless phone charging
  • Plug and play outlets
  • Picnic tables
  • Electric barbeques.

The design will also allow electric car charging stations and e-bike charging stations to be added to the town centre in the future. It should be noted that all infrastructure costs associated with these installations will be supplied through commercial agreements with private operators.

Signage and Wayfinding

An aim of this project is to limit signage as much as practicable. With the ongoing rollout of emerging technologies and smart phone capabilities, extensive use of wayfinding points or signs are unwarranted.

However, a number of standard information pillars with integrated video information to assist with visitors to the town centre are included. These would also include scanning information to assist with smart phone based wayfinding.

Picnic Decks

Another major feature of the project is the installation of new picnic deck areas under the existing Norfolk Pines.

The picnic deck areas under Norfolk Pines have been developed following feedback through previously undertaken consultation. These timber circular decks look to create better views of the bay while also providing seating areas and spots to utilise as picnic areas.

Integrated Artwork

Artist Dr Vicki Couzens has been commissioned to design integrated artwork for the Port Campbell Revitalisation Project. Dr Couzens was chosen from 19 expressions of interest to design artwork and she stood out as one that captured the character and vision of Port Campbell.

Dr Couzens family oral history speaks of cultural connection, belonging and history with Port Campbell. Dr Couzen’s artwork will tell a story of interconnectivity, courage, kinship and community, using design and materials that reflect the local environment.

Pre-construction Project Updates

Funding

Council submitted applications to the Federal Government’s Building Better Regions Fund and the State Government’s Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund in March/April 2021. Council was notified that it had been successful for $6M in June 2021 from the State Government and $5.6M from the Federal Government in October 2021 allowing Council to proceed with the $15.6M project.

Project Charter and Implementation Plan

As part of the funding applications and agreements, a full Project Charter and Plan has been developed. The Charter outlines the purpose of the project, the way the project will be structured and how it will be successfully implemented from commencement to completion as well as providing a process for evaluation and continuous monitoring. The Charter is intended to provide a single point of accountability, ensuring clarity and consistency of decision making and communication for the lifecycle of the project.

It describes the project vision, objectives, scope and deliverables, the governance arrangements, stakeholders, roles and responsibilities, resource requirements, risks and benefits.

Project Governance

As the project progresses from concept to construction clear governance arrangements are important to ensure probity measures are in place. The following diagram outlines the reporting relationships for the next phase of the project.

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Project Control Group

In accordance with the governance arrangements in the Project Charter and Plan, a Project Control Group (PCG) was formed for the construction phase. This PCG meets monthly. The group consists of members from Parks Victoria, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Department of Transport, Regional Development Victoria, Great Ocean Road Authority, a representative from the Port Campbell Progress Association and Council staff.

This group seeks to provide advice and support Council of various aspects of the project including regulation and compliance, quality assurance on delivery of the project according to the project plan, risk mitigation, community engagement and communications.

Technical Reference Group

To assist Council to work through the various approvals and permits required for the project to proceed, Council has appointed Myers Planning Group to provide specialist advice and to assist Council with this aspect of the project. A formal working group has been set up including members from Parks Victoria, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, and Department of Transport to ensure a collaborative, streamlined approach to obtaining the relevant permits required. This group meets monthly to ensure the obtaining of permits continues to progress in line with the proposed works schedule.

Project Website and Facebook Page

A dedicated website has been set up for the project to provide a simple way for Council to communicate to the community and stakeholders on various aspects of the project. This includes the images of the adopted plans, the timeline of the project, project updates, contact details and communication channels. A dedicated Facebook page has also been set up that links to this website, which Council will use regularly to communicate, especially once construction commences.

Project Office

To ensure Corangamite Shire has a physical presence in the town throughout the project, Council is currently in negotiations with a Lord Street building owner to use this location as a site office for the construction phases of the project. Further information on this site office will be provided to the community once the site is secured but Council plans to use this site as a place where the community can view plans, talk to staff members about the project and ensure Council is accessible to the public, especially as construction commences on the project.

Probity Advisor

Due to the large amounts of external funding that Council has secured for this funding, Council has appointed a Probity Advisor from Dench McClean Carlson to assist Council in a variety of different aspects of the project including:

  • preparation of probity plan for the project
  • preparation and review of the tender/submissions for the project
  • review all documentation associated with procurement
  • expression of interest and tender evaluations meetings
  • advice at various stages of the project to the Project Manager and other Council staff where necessary
  • Assistance and advice with any progress reports as required to government

Community and Business Reference Group
As this project moved from the design stage to the construction phase, Council has formed a new community and business reference group for the project. This group’s role is to assist Council with communications and engagement, timing of the project and to ensure Council is keeping the local community up to date with the project as it progresses. A first meeting was held in February with regular meetings to occur throughout the duration of the project. Any community members or businesses owners are welcome to join this group with an EOI form available on the project website.

Project Manager

Council is currently seeking to appoint a project manager/coordinator to assist Council with the delivery of the project. Key components of this role include:

  • Delivery of the project within agreed budget
  • Delivery of succinct project plans and scheduling in line with grant agreements and the Project Charter (Governance document)
  • Regular project updates and succinct reporting
  • Compliance with probity plans and procurement policy
  • Effective community, business and stakeholder engagement and communication activities throughout the project
  • Post implementation inspections as required
  • Maintenance of risk register, including detailed risk assessments, mitigation plans
  • Effective supervision of the Construction Contract.

An announcement on this important role for the project is expected in the coming weeks.

Tender

Following the announcement of funding from the State and Federal Governments in 2021, Council commenced working with Maddocks Lawyers and Hansen Partnership to prepare and release the construction contract for the project.

This tender was advertised on 17 December 2021 with the tender open until 11 February 2022. Unfortunately, no tenders were received for the project with Council seeking feedback from companies who downloaded the tender documentation package but chose not to reply to find out why they did not submit a tender. This feedback cited market conditions, the release date of the tender, COVID outbreaks occurring during the tender period limiting the ability of the business to respond and staff shortages.

Council is using this feedback to consider alternate options for procurement. Options include re-issuing the Request for Tender as originally published, splitting the Tender into different sections to allow smaller companies to bid for the project or changing the works schedule in terms of the year or timing for specific parts of the project.

A change in the schedule and timing of works could mitigate risk around pricing and contractor availability.

Policy and Legislative Context

This project update for the Port Campbell Town Centre Revitalisation is consistent with the following Council Plan objectives:

  • Roads that are fit for purpose
  • Footpaths that provide access to key destinations in our towns
  • Infrastructure that enables industry and business growth
  • A range of public and/or active transport options for Corangamite Shire residents
  • Access to infrastructure that supports a healthy and active lifestyle for our community
  • Facilitating and supporting economic development
  • Helping business recover from COVID and capitalise on opportunities
  • Arts and culture that is supported and accessible
  • A local tourism industry that is valued and recognised for its significant role to the Shire
  • Corangamite’s townships are attractive, accessible and appealing to visitors and are presented in a way in which our residents can be proud
  • Access and inclusion is improved
  • Having strong governance practices
  • We listen to and engage with our community
  • Working with First Nations people

Internal / External Consultation

Council commenced external consultation for this project in 2017 and has continued to engage with key stakeholders and the local community on multiple occasions throughout the various stages of the project.

From the early concept days to now, various concerns and issues have been raised by community and business. In summary, these concerns are:

Safety: Pedestrian and vehicle safety including implications of the replacement of the roundabout at the intersection of Lord Street and Cairns Street with a Lord Street right of way. Lack of pedestrian crossings/wombat crossings in Lord Street (north). Vehicle/pedestrian conflict with larger vehicles and trucks in Lord Street. Placement of accessible parking bays that are non-compliant with the Australian Standards. Confusion created by visitors reverse-parking into angled and perpendicular parking bays. Vehicles parking on roadsides, verges, across accessways and driveways. Access for emergency services vehicles and personnel.

Parking: Extent, size and location of parking including reduction in the number of parking spaces in Lord Street and more generally the size (depth and width) of spaces, accessible parking bays and the most appropriate locations for these, parking for oversized vehicles including vans and buses, angle and orientation of parking spaces, location of electric vehicle charging points.

Traffic management, flow and movement: Competing traffic flow requirements for locals vs visitors, functional requirements for businesses requiring truck deliveries, road access to the port for commercial fishing vessels, turning circles and routes for larger vehicles and trucks. Monitoring and policing of designated parking areas (eg. boats in the Fishermans Carpark, time-limited parking areas).

Communication and Engagement: Splintering of communications with different segments of the local community meeting separately with Councillors, design consultants and staff. Different versions of concept plans circulating in the community at any given time. Perception that Council is not hearing, considering or addressing community and business concerns.

Environment and Amenity: Concern over maintenance of current garden beds, footpaths and planting, ongoing maintenance costs and longevity of new paving, street furniture and garden areas, extent and location of open green space, extent and location of shelters providing protection from adverse weather. Concern that designs and materials proposed are not in keeping with the current coastal character of Port Campbell. Concern that the functionality of the town for residents and businesses has not been provided for with a priority given to tourism.

Impact on business and trade: Concern over access to traders in Lord Street (General Store/Post Office, fuel station, takeaway food providers), parking availability in close proximity to staple traders, disruption to trade and deliveries during construction phase of the project, impacts on accommodation providers during construction period (noise, access).

Throughout the project, Council has committed to working through these issues looking for solutions that, where possible, meet the needs of all parties.

In an effort to accommodate the changes and preferences of business and community, the design phase of the project was highly iterative, with multiple modifications made to the concept designs following feedback from locals. Consultation and input has been provided via drop-in sessions, online engagement, direct consultation, meetings with community groups, meetings with progress associations, and meetings with both the community reference group and the new community and business reference group.

As the project moves into the construction phase Council has a renewed commitment to continue to work closely with the community and businesses to communicate timelines for the project, when any disruptions may occur and how we can minimise these and ensure an ongoing dialogue is maintained between Council and project stakeholders.

To address some of the concerns voiced about communications and engagement, Council has put in place, through the new project charter and governance arrangements, a formal communications and engagement plan. Members of the community who haven’t nominated for the Community and Business Reference Group (CBRG) are encouraged to do so via the EOI form on the project website and any project-specific interactions between community and Councillors or staff will be reported to the CBRG.

In addition, Council is currently in negotiations with a building owner in Lord Street to establish a project office where locals and visitors can come and speak directly with staff about the project and learn more about the different aspects and outcomes the project aims to deliver.

There is a dedicated website accompanied by a social media page to ensure Council can keep the community updated throughout the procurement and construction phase of the project and updates to the community will continue to be made through the Port Campbell Beacon and other local media outlets.

Councillors and officers continue to meet with locals and businesses to discuss various aspects of the project as the project enters the delivery phase.

Financial and Resource Implications

The Port Campbell Town Centre Revitalisation Project has received $5.6M from the Federal Government, $6M from the State Government with Council contributing the remaining funding to allow this $15.6M project to proceed.

The aim is to deliver a project that encapsulates the essence of Port Campbell, enhancing amenity, improve visitor experience, encourage longer stays, as well as disperse visitors through the town.

Benefits include improved traffic flow and safety, greater recognition of the environmental and character value of the town, accessible paths and infrastructure, job creation, opportunities for new retail/hospitality businesses, larger footprint for outdoor public use, retention and increase in visitor spend, improved liveability and community pride.

A Cost Benefit Analysis has also been undertaken. An increase in the number of visitors to Corangamite Shire, relative to the base case, of 15 per cent, is assumed. Each of these visitors will spend 15 per cent more in Port Campbell than they would otherwise.

These assumptions result in an increase in incremental expenditure every year, rising from $5.7 million in the first year after construction (2023), to $6.6 million by 2031 and $7.3 million by 2041. Actual benefit to the local community generated by this induced expenditure (as represented by value added), it increases from $1.4 million in the first year to $1.7 million in 2031 and $1.8 million in 2041. In net present value terms, the value of this stream of incremental benefits is valued at $19.98 million.

Options

This report recommends that Council receives this project update for the Port Campbell Town Centre Revitalisation Project and authorises the CEO to amend the procurement plan for the project including any required changes to sequencing and timing of works generally in accordance with the approved project plan.

Councillors may choose to not receive the update and to not authorise the CEO the ability to restructure the procurement plan for the project.

Conclusion

The Port Campbell Town Centre Revitalisation Project seeks to strengthen and improve the functionality and amenity of Port Campbell’s town centre with construction set to commence later this year.

This report provides an update for Council and the community of the works that will be completed as part of the project and the tasks that has been undertaken over the past twelve months in readiness for construction to start on the project.

RECOMMENDATION

That Council:

1. Receives this project update for the Port Campbell Town Centre Revitalisation Project; and

2. Authorises the CEO to amend the procurement plan for the project including any required changes to sequencing and timing of works generally in accordance with the approved project plan.

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