6 November 2020

$8 million proposal will create Wright community hub

| Ian Bushnell
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Buildings proposed for Wright

An artist’s impression of the three buildings planned for the Wright site. Images: Hugh Gordon Architects.

Child care operator Little Penguins plans to develop an $8.2 million community services precinct in Wright, including a child care centre, community centre and a four-storey medical centre.

The development application will be welcomed by the growing Molonglo community which has been struggling with a lack of services, with the privately run Coombs Community Centre hardly being used because it is too expensive for local groups to hire.

It comes after work started last week on the Denman Village Community Centre and Early Learning Centre in Denman Prospect.

READ MORE Work starts on Denman Prospect community centre

The Suburban Land Agency sold the Community Facilities Zoned site – bounded by Gornall Street, Max Jacobs Avenue and Diesendorf Street – by tender in June, with the proviso that the purchaser build a 130 square metre community facility for public use.

Little Penguins’ Godwin Oparah said the child care operator had decided to add the medical centre to the site in line with uses recommended in the tender.

He said the company was in the process of talking to medical providers who may be interested in operating from the site, as well as the community and nearby Weston Community Centre to clarify the area’s needs.

It was expected the project could get underway by the second quarter of 2021.

”For us it will work well with our child care centre as well, so kids and local people can have a place to do activities, music and cultural things that the area needs,” he said.

Hugh Gordon Architects has prepared a development application that shows three distinct buildings, the largest of which is the proposed multi-function medical centre which will be able to house a range of medical services from a number of providers ”in the one convenient location”.

”The proposal to locate the community activity centre with the health facility and the child care centre will create a vibrant and efficient community precinct in Wright,” the DA says.

The one-storey, long-day child care centre in the south-west corner on Diesendorf Street will cater for 90 children, and the plans show outdoor shade cloths, timber decking, vegetable gardens, soft fall rubber and bark areas, sandpit and nature play areas, as well as deciduous trees. It will be surrounded by a 1.5 metal palisade fence.

The north-facing medical centre will be sited on the corner of Gornall St and Max Jacobs Avenue, while the two-storey community centre is on the corner of Max Jacobs Avenue and Diesendorf Street.

Vehicle access will be from Diesendorf Street, with pedestrian paths running through the site from all three sides.

The plans show 51 parking spaces including six for people with a disability and bike racks for each building.

All the buildings are set well back, around six metres, from the boundaries. The medical centre will be 12 metres from the adjacent three-storey residential block and the DA says it will not affect tenants’ privacy or solar access.

Most of the shade according to the shadow diagrams will fall on the central car park, except at 9:00 am on the winter solstice when a section of the residential block will be shaded.

”This setback, along with the significant verges on the residential streets will ensure that there is adequate noise separation from the residential areas,” the DA says.

All the three buildings will face the street with glass facades and be constructed from the same materials – recycled timber cladding walls, bronze-coloured aluminium blades and balustrades, woodland grey ColorBond windows, and the retaining walls will be in a honed concrete designer block in charcoal.

The DA says the modern design will enhance the streetscape, and the mix of high-quality materials will make for visually interesting buildings.

The site will be fenced, including a 1.8 timber acoustic fence separating the medical centre and the residential block to manage noise.

The landscaping plans show a mix of deciduous, evergreen trees and shrubs surrounding the site, other plantings and mix of irrigated and artificial grass.

Little Penguins operate three child care centres in Canberra, at Ngunnawal, Charnwood and Higgins.

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