Gladstone Regional Council Philip Street Precinct Planning 2020

  • Project Name: Gladstone Regional Council Philip Street Precinct Planning

  • Location: Gladstone, QLD

A facilities planning project for a community precinct that’s the first of its kind in the Gladstone region.

The Context

The Gladstone region has experienced rapid population growth, shifting demographics and rising industrial impacts in the last decade and these changes are set to continue into the future. Because of that, the Gladstone Regional Council recognised the need for regional services that were better able to meet these growing needs.

The Philip Street Communities and Families Precinct, the first of its kind in Central Queensland, is the answer to those needs. It was conceptualised as the principal social infrastructure initiative of the Gladstone region. The development team secured a capital investment of over $16 million from the Australian Government, Gladstone Regional Council and the Gladstone Foundation to undertake this important project.

The precinct’s aim is to address current and future social services needs for the region, and to strengthen the community and social service system. To do this, the precinct will cluster vital community facilities to improve and enhance service delivery and provide a stronger and more cohesive approach to community outcomes. It will also set up a governing group to plan and prioritise the services provided at the precinct into the future.

Time had lapsed between the initial inception plan and the commencement of the master planning. The council were concerned that the needs of the community may have shifted during that time. They wanted to realign the strategic focus of the precinct so they could better meet the present needs of the community.

The Engagement—Facilities Planning Project

The Gladstone Regional Council commissioned Engagement Plus to undertake a facilities planning project. Our scope of work was to assist in developing the renewed vision and operating model for the precinct to ensure that the new precinct would answer the needs of the community as a whole. As part of this, the council engaged us to undertake a needs assessment of the community, consult with key stakeholders and complete a best practice review of other community precincts.

The Approach

Our first step within the facilities planning project was to design, facilitate and develop a report on the outcomes from the community and stakeholder engagement. We also produced a series of reports to assist in the next stage of the project—a needs assessment report, demographic profiling and a best practice review of community precincts.

Next, we worked with the council to create a community information campaign. Its aim was to promote the precinct and showcase opportunities for the community to be involved in the project. We also conducted workshops, held interviews and distributed community surveys, which enabled us to obtain important insight from nearly 150 additional key community members and stakeholders.

Once we completed the engagement activities, we analysed the information gathered and prepared and presented a final report. The final report addressed both strategic and operational items, and included:

  • Strategic Level—Strategy and practice guidelines that set out the key factors and principles for the success of each phase of service development; and
  • Operational Level—A model of service which describes the gap service mix and identifies the success factors that could be established upfront in the establishment and growth phases.

The Outcomes

The Philip Street Communities and Families Precinct is a multi-million-dollar integrated human and social services hub that is the product of dedicated community-led research and initiative for almost twenty years. Most importantly, it is a significant social infrastructure project that will provide for the socio-cultural needs of the Gladstone region for generations to come.

The final report from the facilities planning project helped the council to develop a renewed vision, a strategic operational direction and a strong operating model for the new precinct. It will also guide the Gladstone Regional Council in partnership with the community to establish the governing group who can continue planning and prioritising the services to be provided at the precinct into the future.

Lessons Learned

A forward-looking mindset is vital for any community-focused project, and this facilities planning project was essentially about understanding what lies ahead. It is an example of how Engagement Plus used research, engagement, community capacity building and strategic planning to help our client identify a facilities operating model that meets current and future community and organisational needs.

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Facility planning is about staying ahead of the game. A forward-looking mindset will help you see where you need to be and how to get there. Get in touch to see how Engagement Plus can help you today.