Big changes on agenda for Spalding

Francesca MannGeraldton Guardian
Spalding resident Alan Turner and Beresford resident Roly Brando discuss the ideas suggested in the draft Spalding precinct plans during a community drop-in session on February 13.
Camera IconSpalding resident Alan Turner and Beresford resident Roly Brando discuss the ideas suggested in the draft Spalding precinct plans during a community drop-in session on February 13. Credit: Francesca Mann/Picture: Francesca Mann, Francesca Mann The Geraldton Guardian

New roads, a community farm, shops, an aged care facility and a sporting oval are just some of the ideas that could revitalise Geraldton’s “forgotten” suburb, Spalding.

About 2074 people live in Spalding, which is bordered by the North West Coastal Highway, Webberton’s industrial area, the Chapman River and the GBSC Sports Park.

A long-awaited revamp of Spalding is now one step closer to fruition, with three draft concept plans for the large suburb recently unveiled.

The project, developed by the City of Greater Geraldton and the Department of Communities, has one goal in mind: transform Spalding into a place people want to be.

Cr Steve Douglas, who has pushed for the suburb’s revitalisation for five years, said it was crucial people in the community shared their thoughts on the designs.

“We’re calling for more feedback to get a feel of the aspirations of the residents and their children,” he said.

“We want to find out what is stopping them from achieving their dreams and what we can do to help.

“How do we give Spalding a heart and a focus?”

The three concept plans have been guided by ideas from the community, suggested late last year.

The overall draft precinct plan encompasses the whole suburb and aims to improve the connectivity and accessibility throughout the suburb for vehicles and pedestrians.

The plan suggests new roads, including one running down the side of the community centre, connecting Mitchell Street to Tamblyn Street.

To create some of the proposed roads, including new connections to Bogle Way and Sullivan Crescent, several houses owned by the Department of Communities would need to be removed.

The plan also proposes several new footpaths suggested by the community, additional public open spaces and a number of public access ways that could be closed.

There are also two central community area plans suggesting ways to revitalise AMC Park and the vacant land behind the Mitchell Street Community Centre.

The green plan suggests the unused 4ha site could be used for a school, more housing, sporting grounds or a community farm.

The blue plan prioritises using the vacant land for residential development, including an aged care facility or retirement village.

Both plans suggest transforming the community centre into a central hub for the suburb.

Resident Jennifer Green, a member of the recently established Elders Group, attended a community drop-in session this month and said she liked the look of the draft plans.

“I’m a bit overwhelmed as it’s a big project but I’m happy with what we’re seeing — we’re getting somewhere,” she said.

“We want to make a change and be proud of our community.

“If we have more things for kids here, they’ll stop running around and messing up things.”

For the revitalisation to work, Cr Douglas said the perception of crime and alcohol and drug abuse in Spalding needed to change.

Department of Communities business development manager David Jones said it was important to include the community throughout the project.

“The comment we get is ‘why come to Spalding?’,” he said.

“What can we put here to make people come here and make this an area people can be proud of?

“We started discussing about two years ago how to enable the community to chart their own destiny, and we need community ownership on this,” he said.

The draft plans are available at the Civic Centre and on the City’s website.

Hard-copy feedback forms must be returned to the Civic Centre by 4pm on March 1.

The deadline to complete the online feedback form is midnight on March 4.

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