The LIVING CITY Waterfront Precinct is a key component of the ‘LIVING CITY Masterplan’ adopted by Council in September 2014.
The Waterfront Precinct enables Council to achieve the long held community desire of opening the CBD to the River. The Precinct contains two separate parts being a $15 million parkland redevelopment and a privately funded hotel.
Council, through an open tender process, appointed Lyons Architects, an experienced firm in public infrastructure to design the Waterfront Parkland. The selection process was essentially a design competition, with five very different designs received from which the Lyons design was chosen.
Council is not borrowing any money to undertake the Waterfront Parkland. The $15 million construction project is being funded by a $10 million Australian Government grant and $5 million from Council’s cash reserves.
The hotel is being 100% privately funded by local construction and development firm Fairbrother Pty Ltd, without any Council subsidy. Council sold the necessary hotel land to Fairbrother for $1.18 milliion in line with an independent valuation.
The portion of land sold to Fairbrother is approx 2300m2 and is outlined on the plan below.
The hotel land represents approx. 10% of the total Waterfront Precinct with the balance being developed into attractive public space. For comparison purposes it should be noted that previously 36 % of the designated area was in private ownership.
The hotel will have a right of way onto the hotmix area under the walkway. This has incorrectly been touted as a dedicated service road for the hotel. If the hotel did not have this access this area would still be developed in the same manner.
Fairbrother won the right to purchase the land through an open public expression of interest process. Six submissions were received as part of the EOI process, and were assessed on merit.
Council will receive significant rate revenue from the hotel once it is completed. The hotel will create hundreds of new jobs within the City and support many associated businesses providing a huge economic benefit to the region.
As a result of LIVING CITY, Harris Scarfe has been relocated, and the view opened up from the Mall to the river mouth. The hotel is rectangular in shape and will be parallel to Best Street from the corner of Best Street/Formby Rd but doesn’t extend all the way to Rooke Street. It is positioned to be set back sufficiently so as to maintain the view of the river from the Mall. At its western end, the hotel is elevated two stories high allowing clear access and an open view of the river and parkland.
LIVING CITY Parkland
The LIVING CITY Waterfront park consists of a children’s playspace with adjacent BBQ shelter and public amenities, endemic Tasmanian plantings, amphitheatre, water and mist feature, events common, pathways, lighting, 160m long, 6m wide elevated walkway and rotunda.
Connectivity between the CBD and the Mersey River
The Waterfront Precinct will draw people to the river both visually and physically. The Design of the Parkland is based around three wide promenades extending from the CBD to the rivers edge. Forming a visual and physical connection to the river has long been a community desire. The illustration below outlines the design intent.
Promenade one connects from the northern end of the Rooke Street Mall out past Mussell Rock and river mouth. The hotel is positioned sufficiently to the east and with an elevated western end to ensure that views created by the demolition of Harris Scarfe are maintained.
A new Wombat crossing (raised Zebra Crossing) on Formby Road will provide a safe prioritised crossing for pedestrians
Promenade two is an elevated walkway starting with stairs which face the paranaple centre, it extends along in front of the hotel over Formby Road and the rail line and out over the waters edge. Being approx. 165m long, 6m wide and 10m high at the river end the walkway will provide a spectacular viewing platform both across the parkland and importantly up the river. It can be accessed via a lift at both ends and stairs.
Promenade three connects the river back up between the paranaple centre and art gallery into market square and Providore Place, eventually leading up to proposed future retail development.
It will include Wombat crossings (raised Zebra Crossings) on both Rooke Street and Formby Road to provide a safe prioritised crossing point for pedestrians.
Trees and Vegetation
The new Parkland development will result in far more public open green space than what currently exists in the CBD and will incorporate approximately five times as many plants and tress than what presently exist.
All existing mature trees will be kept where it is fitting with the proposed landscape character, whilst taking into consideration their value relating to size, location and overall health. Trees with heritage value will not be removed. Council will engage an arborist to determine the existing health/lifespan. No decisions have yet been made in regard to removing any trees.
Where possible, the new plantings will be native endemic Tasmanian plants.
LIVING CITY is more than just buildings, it is also about new places, new experiences and new events. The Waterfront Park includes a flexible amphitheatre space, catering for over 4000 people in the largest setting, but will be equally inviting and usable as an informal space to meet and hang out. The diagrams below demonstrate seating capacity with a variable stage location. Loading and unloading for events will occur from either Formby Road or the access road beneath the Elevated Platform.
Rooke Street will continue to operate as the Bus Strip. New bus shelters will be provided at both the northern and southern end of the strip. A new pedestrian crossing will be installed mid block to enable passengers to safely cross to and from the paranaple precinct.
Other locations within the CBD have been considered as potential bus exchange locations however each with advantages and disadvantages and on balance retaining buses within their existing location is considered the best overall community outcome.
Located between the railway line and the Mersey River, and at the end of the elevated promenade the children's playspace will be a unique nature-based Playspace. Natural buffers in elevation and plantings will provide a semi-contained playground aimed at a variety of ages.
The playspace is complemented by an adjacent BBQ facility and public facilities. Natural barriers will be provided between the playground and the River, however parental supervision will still be required.
The Renders below show concept designs only for the playground, noting that there is still substantial design work to occur and that the final playground equipment is likely to change.
The plan includes a bespoke water, mist and light feature along Rooke Street. This feature will be constructed of rock and be highly durable. Initial consideration is being given to connecting this feature to Cradle Mountain potentially in the type of materials or other geological aspects. It will not be a piece of play equipment however the intention is to create something durable, safe and fun that children can engage with.
The elevated walkway will be a feature of the Park. The elevated platform is approximately 165m long, 6m wide and 10m high in places and extends over Formby Road, the rail line and out over the river edge. It can be accessed via a lift at both ends and stairs.
It provides the public boundary to the southern end of the park land. The design of the elevated promenade is intended to replicate a traditional jetty or pier.
The walkway will enable public viewing over the park and Mersey River.
It provides a public rather than a private edge to the park.
The structure will be highly visible to and from the Spirit of Tasmania.
Existing major events will continue within the Parkland, with additional features and services to assist and improve the conduct of existing and new community events. The design team has worked closely with event organisers to ensure that Roundhouse Park remains the premier events space in Devonport. All major events that currently occur in the park will still be able to occur.
The improvements include service connections for transportable amenities, additional single phase and 3-phase power outlets, lighting improvements, connectivity with LIVING CITY Stage 1 facilities and event opportunities associated with the walkway.
The endorsed traffic impact assessment for the Waterfront Park can be viewed here(PDF, 14MB).
In February 2019 the Devonport City Council conducted a Community Survey which included two questions relating to the LIVING CITY Masterplan and to the Waterfront Park. The responses can be found here(PDF, 924KB).