The ACT Government has lodged plans for a new $13 million community centre and youth hub in Gungahlin to meet the needs of the area’s growing population.
The development application comes after funding to build the project was allocated in this year’s Territory budget.
The site (Block 1 Section 232) is currently a government car park only 150 metres from the light rail terminus, which has been subdivided to create an eastern block of 3010 square metres bound by Efkarpidis Street, Gungahlin Place and The Valley Avenue.
The plans from architects Judd Studio show a 1500 sqm two-storey community centre on Valley Avenue and a 330 sqm single-storey youth hub on Efkarpidis Street separated by a landscaped open space featuring a significant tree that has been retained.
The three street frontages will have 3-metre-wide awnings extending to the road verges to provide all-weather protection for pedestrians.
The floor plan shows the youth hub will have a lounge area, communal and outdoor kitchens, outdoor recreation space, work stations, consulting room, low sensory room that can also be used for consultations, staff room, games area (pool tables and table tennis), bathrooms, and a laundry area.
The community centre ground floor includes an office, communal kitchen, multi-purpose rooms, storage, showers, changing rooms, and toilets.
Upstairs are consulting rooms, meeting rooms, a multi-purpose room, work hub, digital arts spaces, art workshops, arts lounge, and toilets.
The design responds to feedback from community consultation in 2021 and a community panel that worked with the government to determine the functional requirements, preferred location, facility design and how the facilities would be run.
The site will have nine parking spaces, including four for people with a disability, and the rest of the required parking will be found in the adjacent public car park.
There are existing access points 20 metres from the north-west corner of Efkarpidis Street and 35 metres from the south-east corner of The Valley Avenue but a new northern driveway from Efkarpidis Street has been proposed.
A secure bicycle lockup will also be available on the ground floor of the community centre, and there will be public verge bike parking.
Gungahlin Community Council president Henley Samuel said progress on the project was welcome after many years of talking about the need for such facilities.
Mr Samuel said it would help meet the needs of the growing number of young people in Gungahlin and a community struggling to find meeting places and function rooms.
“We don’t have anything like this in Gungahlin,” he said.
But Mr Samuel said it was just a starting point for the community, which would hold the government to its promise of a large multicultural centre at Exhibition Park.
“It will certainly help the young population and multicultural communities to be able to use those facilities because the existing facilities are all under pressure,” he said.
Mr Samuel said the only option at present was to use school facilities but these were often fully booked and there were long waiting lists.
They also were not fit for purpose and lack some amenities, such as kitchens.
Mr Samuel said Gungahlin had a different demographic to much of Canberra, with a lot of young people and a large multicultural community, so the facilities were welcome but the bigger picture was a multicultural centre for large events.
He also said the location may be problematic and the government might need to do some more work and modelling to deal with traffic issues.
The DA is open for comment until 25 October.