A major revamp of the Brierly Reserve to include a community hub is a top priority for one Warrnambool City councillor who says the area desperately needs new infrastructure.
Cr Ben Blain outlined his vision to create community hubs across Warrnambool flagging more to come to cater for city's east, west and south.
Cr Ben Blain said that updating the already completed masterplan would make the project for a new community hub at the Brierly Reserve shovel ready.
The Brierly Reserve was purchased by the council in 1999 and a masterplan first completed in 2012.
"There is a desperate need of community infrastructure to service this area," Cr Blain said.
"This is a project that is more important now than ever."
Cr Blain said Warrnambool's north-east had seen some of the largest and most sustained growth of any new areas in the city.
He said it was an important project for the council to be advocating to improve access and services across the city.
"This hub would be critical in creating 20-minute neighbourhoods where services are available within 20 minutes of where you live," he said.
"The services can be tailored to meet the needs of the community, and would not just be a sporting hub catering to clubs.
"It doesn't matter if it's a kindergarten, elderly day services, immunisations, meeting rooms for community groups, offices for social services like domestic violence, access to our new library service or night classes, the opportunities are endless for what the space can be used for," he said.
The council's draft plan for the reserve also includes provision for two new soccer pitches and cricket clubrooms.
But Cr Blain said it was more than just being a sporting facility to cater for clubs.
"With the pandemic we have seen how important decentralisation is and increasing access in critical services I believe is going to be important moving forward," he said.
"I also see Brierly being the start of community hubs around Warrnambool to move towards a true 20-minute city.
"This is the start of having hubs in not just the north but the south, east and west with each hub offering a different suite of products in order to cater to the needs of their community neighbourhoods.
"This could improve outcomes across a range of areas for all of Warrnambool if it is done well."
Cr Blain said the future of Brierly had been discussed by the council and was one of the key advocacy priorities.
He said the 20-minute neighbourhoods was a state government idea that he was keen to see implemented in Warrnambool.
"You tailor these hubs to what the community around it needs, so if it's an older demographic you can have more things geared towards the older generation, if it's young families it's geared towards immunisations," he said.
"It's about decentralising the services from the CBD and having them out in the neighbourhoods where people can actually access them.
"COVID-19 has shown us that decentralisation is key."
He said that in places like Melton community hubs were being created in neighbourhoods before new estates were built, but in Warrnambool they have to "retrofit" them.
Cr Blain said the Brierly project was one of the few on the council's advocacy list that was achievable in the current term of councillors.
"Brierly is the closest one in my view to be able to deliver something," he said.
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