Frequently Asked Questions

Find out more about the CBD Renewal with our FAQ's Below

Why is Council renewing the City Centre?

The city centre has served Warrnambool and its businesses well but has approached the point where it is not meeting the needs of a 21st community.

The city centre needs to respond to the changing requirements of the community. The community has told us they want a well-functioning city centre, attractive and vibrant with spaces where people can come together and socialise.

We need a place that better accommodates different forms of transport, walking, driving, riding, catching a bus or taxi.

It needs to be a safer place with improved lighting, smoother footpaths and even surfaces that are easy to negotiate for people with prams, wheelchairs and children.

The community has a very strong vision for the city centre - one that is alive, thriving and culturally rich.

There is an economic imperative to ensure the city centre remains an employment hub and a thriving centre for retail and dining; a city centre that is able to withstand the changing economy, such as the challenge presented by online retail and the attraction of alternative shopping destinations.

No-one wants to see vacant shops in the heart of our city and we have an opportunity to ensure that the city centre remains the retail and commercial heart of Warrnambool and the region.

The city centre is one of the key attractions for visitors and tourists who bring business to our city and generate local jobs.

A thriving city centre is an attractor of people considering a seachange, skilled professionals and business investors who all help make the city more prosperous and are key players in the 21st century economy.

How did the project come about?

The project has its origins in 2007 when the community was asked to describe a preferred vision for the city centre.

This led to the formation of the City Centre Revitalisation Structure Plan adopted by Council in June 2012. The vision was for a city centre that was alive, thriving and culturally rich.

From this structure plan an approach to renewing the city centre was formed and this included Liebig Streetscape Design workshops which were held in May 2014. About 3000 people had input into the Liebig Streetscape Plan

The planning process brought together the community and experts including architects, planners, landscape architects and engineers.

Draft plans went on display, feedback was received on the plans and changes were made before the Council adopted the final plan in October 2014.

In 2015 Council developed a business case for the project and sought funding from both State and Federal governments. The Federal Government committed $5 million towards the project in December 2015 and Council then received a further $5 million in funding from the Victorian Government.

Is the City Centre Renewal going to shut down Liebig Street for seven months?

NO.

Council is developing a Construction Management Plan that already contains the following key principles:

  • Maintain regular communications with businesses and the community throughout the project
  • Maintain access to businesses for pedestrians during business hours
  • Maintain, as far as practicable, traffic flow for vehicles through the construction site during business hours
  • Maximise, as far as practicable, customer parking and designated loading zones for businesses during business hours

What are the project timeframes?

The Federal funding, along with the experience of other cities undergoing renewals, allowed Council to consider accelerating the construction schedule.

Under a scenario in which the project was mostly Council funded with minimal support from other levels of government, Council had proposed a gradual renewal process staged over up to six years.

The renewal schedule subsequently adopted by Council last year was that over a period of up to six years the renewal would start with the mid-block of Liebig Street, followed by the southern block, then the northern block, then Koroit Street between Liebig and Kepler streets.

Now, with the additional Federal Government backing, we have an opportunity to compress the schedule to two years.

This accelerated program allow Council to renew Liebig Street’s middle and northern blocks from autumn 2017, followed by Stage II: the southern block of Liebig Street and Koroit Street between Liebig and Kepler streets in autumn 2018.

There are benefits to this new schedule. It is proposed to tender out the work based on two city centre blocks, this is likely to attract more tenders, provide cost savings and reduce disruption in the city centre.

When is on-ground work going to start?

Stage I, Liebig Street between Raglan Parade and Koroit Street commenced in February 2017 and will finish in late November 2017.

Stage II, Liebig Street’s south block, between Koroit and Timor streets, is scheduled to commence in February 2018 and finish in November 2018.

How is the project funded?

This is a $15 million project for which Council has committed $1 million annually for a period of five years. We have also received $5 million from the Federal Government. The State Government views our project favourably and we are awaiting the outcome of a funding application to the State Government.

To put this investment into perspective the rebuilding of the Lighthouse Theatre was a $9.4 million project. Council has also committed $5.4 million of ratepayers’ funds to upgrading the Simpson Street stormwater drainage tunnel.

Will this solve the problem of vacant shops?

In talking to Liebig Street landlords we have received feedback that investment in the public space will stimulate additional private investment and help attract new businesses to Warrnambool.

If we create a public space which will attract more people, more often, retailers will have greater opportunities to do business.

To do nothing will certainly not solve the problem.

What are other cities doing?

Many other Australian cities are planning or have completed CBD renewal or revitalisation projects for the same reasons as Warrnambool. These include Ballarat, Bendigo, Mackay, Wodonga, Ipswich, Brisbane, Canberra, Hobart and Wollongong.

How is information on the renewal being communicated?

Thousands within the Warrnambool community have been involved in the city renewal planning process so far.

In 2014 we set up the website www.cbd.warrnambool.vic.gov.au to provide people with ready access to CBD news and information, so far we have issued 10 newsletters on the city renewal which have been emailed and hand delivered to businesses while key decisions have been decided on at open council meetings.

Local media including Ace Radio, The Standard and ABC Radio have featured many stories on the city renewal and WIN TV has also covered the renewal.

The renewal of the city centre was identified by the Council as a priority and is listed in the Council Plan, the financial commitment is also outlined in the Council budget. Both of these documents were adopted in open Council meetings.

More FAQs will follow as more planning details and information on the renewal become available.