STRATEGIC PLAN NOTES
v 1.3 Generated by Don Ashby January 2013
PREAMBLE This document is the beginning of a draft plan for the development of the Assets in the care of our committee. There has been a need for some time to establish a plan for the development and badging of our assets. The reasons to do this are manifold. The badging of our site will contribute to a cohesive sense of community identity. We will create, in both the public’s and potential suppliers of funding, minds the notion that we have an integrated and cohesive product to offer to the community. Rather than just an assortment of disparate assets we have a community centre for the enjoyment of sports, arts and other community activities. We will be able to stage redevelopment and maintenance to maximise funding opportunities and budget management. The core of our activities in the coming years should be the development of these assets to make them more attractive, easier to access and to use. What we need is a series of three year plans. Here is a systematic look at what we need to do and can do to accomplish these ends. I would welcome any constructive comment you may have. 1)INTRODUCTION What follows is a distillation of meetings both formal and informal that have taken place over the past few years regarding the directions we need to take in the care and redevelopment of the assets that we manage on behalf of The people of Mallacoota and the East Gippsland Shire Council. The ideas are far ranging and extensive. They reflect many years of official neglect by The Shire Council and many years of desperate lobbying and hard volunteer work by members of the Mallacoota Community. In recent times there is some evidence that some attention is finally being paid to our community needs that are independent of the tourist industry. We can only hope that this so. 2) TAKING CONTROL After the closing of The Shire Outreach Office we have taken control as an organization. To this end, after discussion with committee members, we have signed up with Virgin Mobile and got a Galaxy S2 smart phone, opened a Google+ Account and bookings are managed through Google Calendars. Keys are managed by Don Ashby. 3) VISION – WHAT’S IN A NAME? The name of our committee while being entirely accurate as a descriptor of what we do it is hardly catchy and very very long. I believe it is a bit symptomatic of the state we find ourselves in as an organization. It is very much the nature of this organization, comprised as it is mostly by representatives of user groups, to be introspective, conservative, tunnel visioned and not necessarily to be too concerned with overall strategic planning. However if we are going to be able to get support and funding for our organization and the developments of the assets we all use I believe we need to develop a short and medium term vision and some sort of strategic plan. A good place to start is, I believe, to find a name for the area of which we are custodians. This will create a sense of focus and give us a way of talking about the collective facilities we manage. As you know Bruce Pascoe has approached us about using a local indigenous name. I think this is a good idea because it finally honours, in our community, the prior inhabitants. So my suggestion for a name for our facilities is The Mallacoota Nyullung Community Precinct. This name would cover – both halls, the soccer and surrounding open spaces, the Amphitheatre , the Lions Park and The Skate Park. If we have a name to give us focus for a vision – what about the vision? 4) STAKEHOLDERS – A COMMUNITY RESOURCE The ideas presented below have arisen from much formal and informal talk over time. Clearly in order to formulate them into a clear plan of action further more formal consultation is required. The stakeholders we need to include in these discussions are –
- Mallacoota Arts Council.
- Mallacoota Association.
- Friends of Mallacoota.
- Mallacoota P12 College.
- Mallacoota Reconciliation Group
- Regional Indigenous Organizations
- Mallacoota Police
- Mallacoota Kindergarten
- Mallacoota Churches
5) THE ELEMENTS, A BIT OF THEIR HISTORY, PLANS, WHAT TO DO. So what are we talking about? What are the elements of our precinct and what is their history? a) The Mudbrick Pavilion. The Mudbrick Pavilion was originally constructed with locally raised funds and labour to be a soccer pavilion. Shortly after its completion the soccer club moved its venue to the a field adjacent to The Mallacoota Golf Course. Over the past 20 years we have developed the Mudbrick Pavilion from an empty mudbrick shell to a small auditorium with a lighting grid, stage, curtains, seating and a PA. This has been done through fund raising, grants, donations, ingenuity and a great deal of volunteer labour. This is the most intensively used of our facilities. Much equipment has been gained over the years both by us and through The Mallacoota Arts Council. It is now used as a small performance venue, a meeting venue, a place for community activities like workshops and markets, education (both through the P12 College and independent Work Place Training Providers) and a venue for private functions. It is the Community Hub. In the recent past The East Gippsland Shire Counsel policy stated that The Forge Centre in Bairnsdale would be developed as the Arts Hub and that venues in the other towns in the shire will be developed as the Spokes. This policy may in part start to redress the relatively small amount of EGSC funds spent in the development of community hall facilities in Mallacoota and everywhere else in the Shire East of Lakes Entrance.. We have taken the building as far as we can without major structural or infrastructural alteration. To bring it into line with modern expectations as a venue it needs to be modified. The Mudbrick Pavilion is in need of substantial renovation to bring it up to contemporary standards. The building fabric is in need of attention. in particular the upper windows on the weather side need extensive repair or replacement. The kitchen is in urgent need of replacement as it is primitive in its’ resources and non-compliant with current regulations. A health department compliant kitchen would create opportunities for the production of local produce for the above markets and make it possible to hold catered events on the premises’ (augmenting a site already popular for local and out of town weddings). The parking area behind the Mudbrick Pavilion is in urgent need of development. the area immediately behind the building needs to be sealed properly to reduce the enormous amount of dirt that is tracked and blown into the building. The parking area adjacent to the Mudbrick Pavilion and Soccer Oval (which is currently a much rutted bare mud and grass area) need to be gravelled as it unsafe both for Mudbrick Pavilions patrons and the huge number of Camp Park patrons who cross it every day (in season) to and from the Mallacoota Shops. It is increasingly difficult to get performance companies on Arts Victoria and Regional Arts Victoria touring programs to perform here because the stage is well below their minimal production standards. Only Just Shows to Go (Cafe Culture) tours leanly enough to be able to work in our space. There is increasing demand from workplace training organizations to use the building for classes and seminars. Local groups want to use the place for meetings, workshops and other event. The Mudbrick Pavilion needs to become a multipurpose multi functional facility. if it is going to continue to play its role as a community hub. Also the population has almost doubled since it was built and is predicted to increase further. The venue is too small for many applications and often under pressure for conflicting uses during popular time slots and dates. The redevelopment of this asset would create an immediate economic benefit to Mallacoota and the local area. It would create a venue for art gallery and exhibition space while still leaving the auditorium free for performance and group based activities like Yoga and dance. A separate room is necessary for work based seminars, classes and conferences. There would be added undercover space for the popular Artisans and Produce Markets as well as our Summer Community Markets. The school would have a much needed space for performances and whole school events currently only available through great labour in the rooms at the Mallacoota Golf and Country Club. We have created a working group headed up by myself and Jenny Lloyd (who has considerable experience in community development) to scope a substantial rebuilding of the Mudbrick Pavilion. We have come up with a very general plan as a starting point b) The Main Hall. Originally conceived and built as a basket ball stadium for largely impenetrable reasons, lost in the deeps of time. This is one of the most problematic of our venues. It is very large and was poorly conceived, designed and constructed. In the past it saw use as a school gymnasium, a youth club venue and occasionally as a basket ball venue for which purpose it was ostensibly originally constructed It’s main use is for indoor sports through The School, the Soccer Club and the Badminton Club. It is seasonally used as a cinema at Christmas. It is about to enter a new lease of life as a venue for junior gymnastics now that the equipment has been assessed and Bendigo Community Bank have offered funds to purchase appropriate matting. It needs substantial fabric renovation especially to make it fire safe – debris rains into the building through roof vents when the wind is northerly. The kitchen needs upgrading, the building needs more storage areas and water damage to the walls need repair. The subsidence in one corner of the building also needs to be addressed. Negotiations are to bring the building up to a standard where it will be suitable as a refuge/coordination centre in time of natural disaster seem to have derailed again. These redevelopments should include –
- Complete rewiring of the building including three phase power and generator compliant.
- The upgrade/redesign of the kitchen to commercial standard
- The reframing of the windows to comply with current standards.
- The refurbishment of the eaves to comply with current standards.
- The refurbishment of the roof to comply with current standards.
- The refurbishment of ventilation grills to comply with current standards.
- The installation of an access ramp for disabled patrons.
- The installation of additional toilets that have disabled access.
c) The Soccer/Footy/Cricket Ground. It seems that nothing can be done in this area by this committee except for the local volunteers to keep up their excellent work in improving the ground cover on the oval. Mallacoota will remain the only community in East Gippsland without a legitimate football oval but housing the biggest profit making enterprise managed by East Gippsland Shire Council largely on community public land…… The Public Toilets adjacent to the cricket nets are in desperate need of replacement. They are antiquated, unhygienic and not disabled compliant. Soccer is very strong in Mallacoota and cricket is becoming so. Recent work by members of our committee and others have done a great deal to improve the quality of the grass. Recently the fence was moved to increase the useful playing area. The cricket pitch has also been replaced. Plans developed only ten years ago included the re-allocation of land (taken over by the camp park) back to the Mallacoota Community for the enlargement of the sports oval. This would make it possible to level the oval and extend its size to make it a flat regulation Australian Rules football oval. With the change in emphasis by the Shire Council away from community based services towards tourism based services this seems to be no longer the case. Token attempts at the extension of the oval into the parking area for the sports ground/Mudbrick and the loss of parallel parking on the lake side of the oval by expansion in that direction, while minimally extending the oval, has created parking congestion and consequent degradation of the remaining area surrounding the oval. Appeals have been made by The Committee to the consultants (undertaking the redevelopment of the foreshore) to return the land to the Mallacoota Community but this is expected to be unsuccessful. d) The Lions Park. The Lions Park was so named because some fifteen years ago The Mallacoota Lions Club fundraised extensively and put in many hundreds of volunteer hours to build a substantial all ages children’s playground in front to the Mudbrick Pavilion. Later with some funding from the Shire Council a BBQ was added and some picnic tables. The Playground replaced a homemade adventure playground that no longer complied with health and safety regulations. About two years ago many parents lobbied our committee and we in turn lobbied the shire to install shade sails over the playground as many parents were worried about the increased UV factor on the health of their children. Then without any consultation Shire Council workmen arrives and with no explanation demolished 90% of the playground and erected a tiny toddler playground in its place (still without meaningful sun protection). Thus removing the threat of over exposure of UV at least for the older children. The Mudbrick Pavilion is the venue for many town meetings, workshops and performances and the playground was used extensively and continuously by the children of the town during these events. At night the area is well lit and offers a safe place for children to play while events are taking place in the hall. One of the items left behind by the original adventure playground was a large concrete circular structure containing plant surrounded by a pavement. This structure had been covered by a mosaic that had succumbed to weather damage and vandalism. After a child slipped over on the pavement and cut themselves on a piece of broken glass The Shire Council requested the removal of the pavement and we complied. We also relocated the concrete structure to the other side of the building to form the core of a meeting place . This opened up the area for The Artisans and Produce Market and made the performance stage mound a more viable resource for the area . The local EGSC crew have redeveloped the performance mound and it has been used very successfully over the summer markets. The Mallacoota Community Market Committee (a subcommittee of Mallacoota Arts Council) have moved The Community Markets away from the Greer Street location and have located them in and around the Mallacoota Mudbrick Pavilion. This decision has been made for a number of reasons –
- The proposed building of a ‘Communications Centre’ fronting Maurice Ave and extending back to the track that services the public toilets takes the prime street frontage for the markets pushing it back further onto the town oval.
- The increasing use of the town oval by our sports clubs is making constant clashes with market days and sports fixtures.
- The Mudbrick Pavilion has proved to be a very successful core of the monthly Artisan and Produce Markets especially the kitchen and the use of the hall for merchandise sensitive to weather conditions.
- The Greer St venue is unsheltered from rain wind and sun. Areas around the Mudbrick are screened by trees to cut the wind factor, provide shade and offer some shelter from the rain.
Further developments that need to be undertaken –
- A minimal environmentally sensitive sound shell and roof over the performance mound.
- The reinstatement of an adequate children’s playground.
- Top dressing and replanting of grass area.
e) The Amphiteatre.. Originally put in place by The Mallacoota Arts Council. Poorly conceived, designed and constructed, the facility quickly became moribund and has been derelict for almost a decade. Recently the facility has been taken over by us and is being redeveloped with a series of funding allocations from EGSC. To this date the old stage structure has been removed as have the turf seating tiers. The audience area is now a gentle slope and the performance area a flat floor. Work is in progress to fence off the down-stage edge of the space and put in a performance screen and some wings as well as ‘car port’ for equipment shelter. In the future ( if there is a perceived need by the community) further developments include the treating of the performance area with Genoa toppings. The running of secure power lines to the lighting towers terminating at the rear of the audience area. Create a roofed performance area – possibly a prefab barn and erect deployable sails over the audience. We have received a number of letters of support from the community supporting the redevelopment of the amphitheatre. The uses that is wished it will be put include –
- Outdoor cinema for periods other than Christmas when the Main Halls hosts Lakes Entrance Cinema.
- The Annual Dog Show.
- A Community Play.
- Summer/Easter daytime entertainment.
- Mallacoota P12 College Events
f) The Gathering Place. Over the years the area adjacent to the Mudbrick and the Mallacoota Gum has been used as a gathering point for people to sit around a fire and listen to music or just talk. The fire place has always been temporary and is usually a satellite dish mounted on concrete blocks which prevents damage to the grass. This has always caused some concern safety wise. When we redeveloped part of the Lions Park to expedite the presentation of The Mallacoota Artisans and Produce Market we moved the concrete annular around to the rear of the Mudbrick Pavilion as a focus for a ‘Gathering Place’. We have installed steps up from the Mudbrick Pavilion veranda. The EGSC has granted funds for the further development of this project to include – mosaic decoration of the concrete structure, a paved apron around it and large rustic carved tree trunk bench seats. A stage two will be to work with local indigenous community to integrate the area around the Mallacoota Gum by the creation of a sculptural fence. g) The Skate Park This facility is managed by us but was funded and built through a sub-committee of the Mallacoota Association and the EGSC. There was little consultation between those bodies and our committee with the result that it is badly placed and the facilities did not even at the time of construction meet minimum OH & S standards. It is need of urgent upgrading to bring it up to current standards and to solve the flooding problems it experiences. Currently representative from us and a subcommittee of the Mallacoota Association are investigating the Parks redevelopment. There has been an extensive round of community consultation largely undertaken by Catherine Perrie. The results of this consultation have already been made available to a skate park designer to assist in the presentation of some preliminary design ideas for discussion. The site has been examined by EGSC personnel and it is believed by this committee that funding has or can be made available for the redevelopment. 6)FUNDING In order to fund the development of our assets we will need funding. This list was generated at an informal brainstorming session with various community members. Possible Funding Sources –
- Disabled Funding
- Access issues in Main Hall.
- Private Philanthropics.
- Children’s Playground
- Sporting Infra Structure Grants
- Direct EGSC project funding.
- Club Rooms
- Redevelopment of Mudbrick Back Stage
- Funding through Emergency Plan Facilities and Management.
- Redevelopment of Main Hall as emergency refuge.
- EGSC Grant Streams.
- Continued development of Mudbrick Pavilion as Community hub
- Arts and Heritage.
- Embellishment of facilities and celebration of Community Hub.
- Community Development
- Continued development of Mudbrick Pavilion as Community hub.
- Regional Arts Fund
- Arts related projects
- Local Bendigo Bank. Projects that will give them opportunities for advertising.
- Ground keeping of the oval.
- Development of the Lions Park.
- Development of The Amphitheatre.
- Local Fund raising.
- The package and the name launch. Now. This could be done in 2013 in conjunction with the release of a strategic plan.
- The Amphitheatre. The first stage of this development should be completed by Easter 2013. Before further development takes place the venue must be promoted and event ideas trialed to see if further development is warranted.
- The Gathering Place The development currently funded should be completed by the end of 2013 with stage two seeking funding from the January 2014 funding round.
- The Mudbrick Pavilion. A general redevelopment plan will be created for EOI of the RAV Community Re-creation Grant Stream. It will be developed further if we are invited to seek a grant from this source. Further funding possibilities will be sought if we are unsuccessful in either the EOI or the grant application. This will be done in conjunction with EGSC. This sector of the plan could take from 2 to 3 years (end of 2015).
- The Main Hall. The renovation of The Main Hall within the timescales of the first 3 year plan will only be achieved if its role as an emergency coordination centre in time of natural disaster is recognized. Should this not occur community resources will need to be marshalled in a second three year plan to commence in 2016
- The Lions Park. The seeking of funding to restore the children’s playground is achievable during the first 3 year plan (end 2015). Other goals are achievable with available funding in the first 3 year period.
- The Grounds – The ideal realization of development goals for the grounds – particularly the oval – can only be achieved if the EGSC hands back the grounds that have been stolen from The Mallacoota Community and deployed as camp sites.