Council and Phillip Island Nature Parks partnership to benefit community

Bass Coast Shire Council will work with Phillip Island Nature Parks (PINP) to get the best outcome for the community regarding the commercial space available as part of the Cowes Cultural and Community Centre plans.

The commercial lettable space within the Centre was included in the original concept design endorsed by both the community and Council in December 2015.

"PINP advised Council that they were looking at options to accommodate its administration staff in the situation that the new Penguin Parade Visitor Centre received funding and asked that Council consider PINP for their future commercial lease space. Once funding for the Penguin Parade Visitor Centre was confirmed, this option was pursued more formally and endorsed by the Nature Parks Boad."

Bass Coast Mayor, Cr Pamela Rothfield, said the philosophy behind including a commercial lettable space within the Centre was to help offset the additional, ongoing operational costs of the community components within the redevelopment.

“In particular, the need for a ‘Centre Manager’ to take bookings, work sound and projection equipment, and pack-up and set-down for functions and events was identified early as a requirement to maximise the use of shared spaces within the facility and to ensure the facility was a vibrant and well used by community and visitors,” Cr Rothfield said.

“Phillip Island Nature Parks and Council already have a strong relationship, but by working together, the chance to collaborate on a range of projects and initiatives, alongside Destination Phillip Island, presents a very unique and beneficial opportunity for Phillip Island.”

The potential for ticket sales and promotions of PINP and other tourist activities at the information desk in the Great Hall in the Centre, as well as the increase of 35 staff members in the Cowes CBD from Monday to Friday were additional advantages in Council’s consideration of PINP’s proposal.

“Council formally endorsed PINP’s request in August 2016; however I want to make clear that the footprint for the lettable commercial space endorsed by Council in December 2015 has not changed to this day,” Cr Rothfield said.

“What has changed was the decision to construct the Centre in stages, hence the need for a slight change in design.”

Cr Rothfield reassured the community their concerns about impacts to green spaces in the area are a priority in the new designs, which were currently being done by architects.

“We will ensure that we avoid or minimise any impact on existing green space to the west of the facility when reviewing the design and required footprint,” Cr Rothfield said.

“The changed design will also be done in such a way that it does not compromise future stages of the Centre from being constructed.”

Cr Rothfield also clarified that only a minimal number of car parks would be required for PINP operational vehicles during business hours.

“There will not be dedicated spaces for every Nature Parks staff member based in the Centre offices, and they will be required to find suitable parking for their work day, just as every community member who works in the Cowes CBD does on a daily basis.”