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 revamp of the old 'Fishos' site (pictured above), at the corner of Raglan and Kangaroo Streets is already underway. The $1M refit 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.
As well, the Manly Youth Centre building next door, is under renovation.
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:
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.