The Station Domain Project is more than a civil engineering project and needs to be seen in the context of a further step in creating the environment to growth, self confidence, developing a new image, presenting historic assets and landmarks in a new light and facilitating lifestyle enhancement making the municipality more attractive to both business and residential growth.
The Station Domain Project was made possible by several key factors as follows:
• The development of a new combined primary secondary public school. Facilitated and encouraged by council, and which led to 5 school sites being redundant.
• The purchase of the 5 vacated school sites by the Central Goldfields Shire Council.
• The rezoning of the land and advocacy resulting in three sites currently under development for housing and aged care.
• The Former Technical College site being taken over by Central Goldfields Shire Council. The site conceived as a new civic hub for the town, book ending the town. The book end at one end being the historic Post Office, Court House and Town Hall and at the other end the Historic Station that is at the side of the new municipal precinct. The new municipal precinct called Station Domain and includes the for Municipal Offices, with the former school library converted into a Community Hub comprising community radio station, meeting rooms and Municipal Emergency Control Centre, gymnasium, parking for station, regional playground, open space park and performing arts open theatre.
The station Domain project has 18 main elements to it as follows:
1. Construction of a new access road (Station Street) to the Historic Maryborough Station
2. Construction of Car parking to the station – given passenger rail returned to Maryborough in June 2010.
3. Redevelopment of the former technical school library to a Community Hub including internal renovation and redevelopment and exterior improvement to make it compliment the tow historic buildings, the station and the former technical school building.
4. Restoration and repair of a section of roofed stone main drain thought the site
5. Construction of new reinforced concrete lid to replaced a collapsed portion, for a section of the stone main drain.
6. Upgrading the Burns Street bridge over the main drain.
7. Construction of a new bridge over main drain for the new access road
8. Building a regional playground.
9. Building an outdoor performing arts amphitheatre for the community.
10. Developing a linking park promenade to tie the development together.
11. A new front entry for the Municipal offices, on a section of building that was the building rear.
12. Construction a new Shire Offices car park
13. Constructing a new car park for the Community Hub and Crocket Club.
14. Building a community bus storage facility.
15. Enhancement to the surrounds of the Crocket Club
16. Installation of tanks for water collection from building roofs
17. Roofing the stone main drain to construct the playground over.
18. Landscaping the site with a drought tolerant landscaping approach.
The total project budget was $3.8 Million based on funding from The Federal Government stimulus package ($3,380,000), a contribution from the department of Transport for railway parking and bus facilities ($250,000), a local developer ($100,000) and Council cash and in kind funding.
Project construction was undertaken by a combination of council day labour and contractors.
The project management was by a council team specially put together to ensure safety, close management and project design and delivery.
The project was designed as it proceeded due to the tight time frames created by the stimulus funding.
• Develop the historic railway precinct as a book end the central business district of Maryborough, with the other book end being the Historic Post office, Court House and Town Hall. The two precincts being connected by Nolan Street. The railway precinct was run down, poor facilities to the station, disused and abandoned school buildings.
• Revitalise the town and create a public space and set off the historic railway station, former technical school building (now municipal offices).
• New major town public space enhancing the historic railway station and municipal offices and incorporating community into the space.
• Community pride in the development.
Innovative features of the project
• Restoration of an old main drain using traditional stone laying techniques including locating stone.
• Constructing bridges and playground over 100 year old hand laid stone drains ensuring their protection.
• Construction of new drain covers by using former drain cover beams as temporary formwork for new concrete slab.
• Water gardens in car parks and access road
• Recycling an unattractive 1970’s two story brick building in a way that compliments the historic precinct, this was achieved by rendering columns (similar to the historic station) and construction of exterior steel frame.
• Constructing a new entrance to the former technical school site. The front of the building has a strong looking entrance which is not now being used. The rear of the building had to be designed to become the new entrance. Converting what was clearly the rear of the building into the front and being sympathetic to the history of the building, and incorporating an ugly exterior stair well fitted by the education in the past has been very successfully achieved.
• Composite funding approach with a local developer, Department of Transport, Council and Federal Government stimulus funds being used to complete the project.
• Council managed the site including site control as “the Principal Contractor” with a combination of council day labour and contractors undertaking project works.
• Council worked with Design engineers, landscape architects, architects, historians to pull together a complex project. The project was constructed using a just in time design approach as design drawings were not available at the project commencement.
• Close co-operation in the design, construction and delivery of bus and car parking for the return of the passenger rail, train service to Maryborough.
• Close co-operation with the tenant of the railway station allowing the business to function through a comprehensive site redevelopment. It is a unique feature to have a council’s tenant in a working public railway station.
• Working closely with Heritage Victoria to preserve and enhance the station/Municipal Offices precinct.
• Constructing a regional standard playground and landscaping over a large town stone drain.
Distinguishing features of the project
The project is distinguished by the numerous constructed elements that have been put together to form the “Station Domain” project. Each of the elements in their own right are not extraordinary, but the combination has created a magnificent public space.
Barriers overcome to achieve success
• The project involved working closely with Heritage Victoria. Heritage permits were a requirement due to the historic buildings and precinct and this caused delays but was accommodated in the construction.
• A close cooperative relationship with the Council’s railway station tenant and business. Regular contact and a co-operative approach on both sides was managed.
• The project was commenced without being documented designs due to the funding constraints and surprise in receipt of the funds. This was overcome by developing a focused staged approach to documentation leading to the big picture. A project support team included a landscape architect to provide project conceptual input to ensure it did not have a hard engineering edge. Building Architects were also engaged to provide a solution to the renovation of the Community Hub.
• Procurement requirements through the project became an ever difficult hurdle and created time delays to the project. Had documentation been available at the outset these issues could have been managed far better.
Cost benefit associated with the Project
Cost benefit can be a difficult concept to measure in civic works. Council believes that the use of a combination of contracts and day labour it could provide best value to the project.
Council day labour constructed road base using Council’s gravel pit gravel which is substantially cheaper the purchased crushed rock. The resulting road base is made of gravel with overlying crushed rock pavement.
The lack of documentation meant that council could control expenditure and risk by undertaking key components itself. As documentation became available components could be tendered to the various trades including, bricklayers, builders, concreters, plant hire operators, asphalt, electricians and plumbers. By using council’s own staff there was the opportunity to fund the day labour costs from the grant funds. That then allowed contractors to backfill council operations where required.