About the Bargoonga Nganjin, North Fitzroy Library
Background information about the North Fitzroy Community Hub is available in the questions and answers below:
What services will operate from the hub?
The hub will to include:
- A new library to replace the current make–shift North Fitzroy library service which operates out of a shopfront in St Georges Road. The new library would be about three times larger than the existing library, and would provide better opportunities for reading, studying and relaxing.
- A family and children’s area which would provide maternal and child health services, feeding rooms and activity spaces for playgroups, occasional child care and other potential uses.
- Two seminar rooms within the library that would be available for community use.
- A large flexible community activity space that would be used by multicultural seniors groups but would also be available for community use. This space would be adjacent to a roof garden, which would be available for outdoor activities.
- A customer service area within the library to handle Council payments and respond to enquiries about general Council matters.
What will the building look like?
Council has worked closely with a Design Reference Group (comprising members of the community) to create an iconic community building that complements the history and character of North Fitzroy (see image below).
The unique triangular shape of the land has influenced both the internal and external appearance of the building, designed by local architects Group GSA.
The 2040m2 building will span three storeys, including a rooftop garden.
A library, children’s reading area, community meeting rooms and staff offices will be on the ground level.
Level one will feature additional library space, maternal and child health consultation rooms and an outdoor play area. Level two will feature meeting and function rooms for up to 200 people, a commercial kitchen and a landscaped rooftop garden.
The outside of the building will incorporate recycled brick, etched concrete and a series of perforated metal panels. These panels will provide essential shading to ensure the building is energy efficient.
There will be no car parking onsite and 34 bicycle parking spaces for staff and the public.
How much will it cost?
The project is expected to cost about $14.5 million. This includes the cost of acquiring the site.
Funding for the project has been provided in Council’s long–term financial plan, with annual budget allocations to be confirmed as part of the budget process each year.
Council’s proposed budget for 2015/16 includes $8.3 million for this project.
Council has received $1m funding from the State Government from the Living Libraries Fund and Community Support Fund.
What’s the construction timeline?
Council’s planning department approved a planning permit for the project, subject to conditions, in July 2014. The conditions of the permit were satisfied in June 2015.
The planning permit provides for the use and development of the site as a library and community hub and maternal child and health centre, as well as a reduction in the car parking and loading bay requirements and associated signage.
The permit application included expert reports in the fields of planning, transport, acoustics, heritage, waste management and environmentally sustainable design.
The full Council report and planning permit application can be viewed as part of the Council report and attachments from 8 July 2014.
Council has appointed building contractor Buxton Constructions to construct the hub.
Construction is beginning in late September 2015 and is expected to take about 16 months. Council expects that the building will be complete by December 2016 and the hub will be open to the public in early 2017.
Council will also introduce a number of streetscape improvements to Best Street while the hub is under construction.
What’s the history of the site?
In April 2011, Council compulsorily acquired the 940m2 triangle–shaped parcel of land at 182–186 St Georges Road for the hub. The land included a former petrol station site and an adjacent house.
Here is a media release issued by Council after it secured the land. More information about some of the steps involved in compulsorily acquiring the land is provided on this webpage about Amendment C126 to the Planning Scheme. The property’s owner will be paid fair market value for the land.
The site is now empty and has undergone a rigorous statutory environmental audit process.
The audit included installing a number of test wells on and around the site that were monitored regularly over several years.
The audit has been verified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and clearance given for construction to begin.
Will the building be environmentally sustainable?
The building will incorporate a range of environmentally sustainable design features including a solar panels and a water storage tank.
The building will span three storeys, including a landscaped rooftop garden. The outside of the building will feature recycled bricks, etched concrete and a series of perforated metal panels that will provide shade to increase the building’s energy-efficiency.
Other environmentally sustainable features, such as solar panels and a water storage tank, will help the building achieve a six star Green Star rating – the highest environmental rating awarded by the Green Building Council of Australia.
More information about the rating tool is available on the Green Building Council of Australia website.
Why is a new library needed?
The local community has been calling for a permanent, purpose–built library in North Fitzroy for several decades. A North Fitzroy library has operated in leased premises in and around St Georges Road since the early 1980s.
The current North Fitzroy library is the smallest of the five library branches operated by Yarra Council. However, the library is well–used by the local community, which indicates there is strong demand for local library services.
A report by library services expert John Liddle in 2003/04 found the North Fitzroy library was performing equivalent to or better than other Yarra libraries. However, it identified several shortcomings including:
- the space was uninviting and lacked vibrancy
- additional space was required to house an expanded collection
- access for people with disabilities did not meet regulatory standards and required significant improvement
- additional computers were required
- there was a need for the opening hours to be expanded on evenings and weekends
- the informal meeting and reading space was not meeting community expectations, and
- space for school groups and children’s activities was inadequate
Minor improvements were made to the existing library in 2005 to provide better access for people with disabilities.
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Coordinator Building Projects