The Northern Beaches needs more public halls. That's no surprise to most of us but now it's official, with a Council report finding a lack of community spaces for hire. As well some existing facilities are in poor condition, or away from central locations with poor public transport or parking.
It turns out Manly Ward is worst affected, with relatively fewer community centres than anywhere else on the Peninsula. At the moment Manly has no real community space and Balgowlah doesn't have a single council-managed hall for hire.
The good news is that a major renovation of Manly Youth Centre in Kangaroo St (pictured above) is already underway. The $1M revamp will be finished next year and will create a new home for Community Northern Beaches (previously Manly Community Centre), when their existing home in Wentworth St returns to Manly Public School. A new community hub fo local support services will also be created.
The council will also develop a masterplan to transform the Seaforth Community Centre into a multipurpose facility, and investigate whether Council-owned properties in Balgowlah town centre can be re-purposed for community space.
Good For Manly President Candy Bingham said Manly Town Hall also has a major role to play. "My council initiative has now opened up the beautiful first-floor hall for public hire," Deputy Mayor Bingham said. "And in the long-term I'm working to transform the space into a venue that Manly can be proud of. A performance space, art gallery, museum or cinema are all possibilities. It's very exciting."
Images: Town Hall exterior; First floor former council chambers.
You can download the Council's Draft Community Centres Strategy (Oct 2019) here:
UPDATE: Pominent Australian architecture firm COX Architecture has been appointed lead consultant for the transformation of old Manly Hospital site. The firm, which won a competitive tender for the job, will be responsible for the masterplan and rezoning of the site to create a new 'health and wellbeing' precinct. The firm will work with Property NSW, NSW Health, National Parks & Wildlife Service and community representatives and is expected to deliver a masterplan to Northern Beaches Council next year. The plan will also be put on exhibition for public comment. COX Architecture is a multi-disciplinary firm which integrates architecture, planning, urban design and interior design. It has been involved in many large-scale projects, including the recently-released concept design for the passenger terminal at Western Sydney International Airport
3/10/2019: Heritage buildings will be preserved and a masterplan will be developed for the old Manly Hospital site. That's the promise from Property NSW after a tour of the site for community group members today.
Project manager Tahlee Smith gave a guarantee that all heritage listed elements on site would be preserved, including most of the 'main building' (where admissions and emergency used to be) and the gateway arches which marked the original hospital entrance (both pictured below). She said the buildings would be restored to their former glory, with the old entrance reinstated, if possible, as the gateway to the new precinct.
Part of Building No 15 (previously Outpatients and Physiotherapy), Parkhill Cottage (previously respite care for Alzheimer's patients) and a long sandstone wall next to the site of the proposed Adolescent and Young Adult Hospice will also be retained. As well, the well-known five-sided kiosk building may be retained despite its not having a heritage status.
Images: The proposed site of the new hospice, and artist's impression of the completed building.
Candy Bingham, Manly Ward Councillor on Northern Beaches Council. Background in marketing, public relations and community engagement. Author of five business books. Former Lady Mayoress of Sydney. Aka Candy Tymson.