A DECADE after it was first mooted in a brainstorming session, Fremantle council will officially open the Walyalup Koort and Civic Centre on Sunday December 5.
The $50 million transformation of the renamed Kings Square was a key plank of the council’s 2011 economic strategy, and along with the revamp of the Queensgate and Myer buildings next door was aimed at pulling the city’s business centre out of the doldrums by sparking a wave of development.
“It will be a huge community opening day with activities inside and out,” mayor Hannah Fitzardinge told the Herald about the big day.
The announcement came as the council’s finance and policy committee approved a “place development plan” for the public realm, which Ms Fitzhardinge said will need a mix of council and independent activities to stay busy.
She says the upcoming Fremantle Long Table Dinner on Saturday November 27 would be the first event once the construction fences came down, with tables stretching along the front of the new civic centre.
“It will be fantastic and will give us a real sense of how you can use that space.”
She also promised this year’s Christmas celebrations would be huge.
Ms Fitzhardinge said the council would reach out to schools about using the space, and said Notre Dame uni had already expressed interest – perhaps for its graduation night or procession.
The council was also talking to the Communities Department about bringing some of the activities it hosts, such as yoga and fitness sessions, out onto the Koort. It would also approach external operators to run things like small format team sports as well.
A survey of businesses used to draft the place development plan found that most were desperate to see it activated during business hours.
“We’ve had discussions about whether we should have live night for the footy; we’re really trying look at all sorts of other ideas to help bring the space to life,” Ms Fitzhardinge said.
The place development plan also flags a midweek program of lunch-time events to bring workers out of their offices and a “coffee offering” at the visitor centre in the new building to help create a welcoming space for families as they use the new playground.
The new library and customer service centre at the Walyalup Civic Centre will be operating from Monday November 22.
by STEVE GRANT