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BOOM TOWN BENDIGO

Positioning for a 21st Century Renaissance

Nick Byrne Manager Strategy & Philip DeAraugo Place Manager


WHAT WE WILL COVER TODAY • Some insights into Strategy, Leadership, Collaboration and Opportunism • How this way of ‘doing’ is contributing to Bendigo being on the cusp of a 21st century renaissance • We’ll look at some case studies • We’ll identify some take home messages


WHERE IS BENDIGO?


A BIT ABOUT BENDIGO • Almost an instant city (due to the gold rush) • Is around 150km from Melbourne (just far enough) • Home to approximately 105,000 people • Contained economy (people live and work here) • Has good bones (urban design focus) • Is heavily scrutinised (daily and weekly print media, local radio, local TV looking for news every day)


THIS IS WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE


THIS IS WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE


THIS IS WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE


THIS IS WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE


Case Study 1: Bendigo Art Gallery • Owned and operated by the City • Catalyst project (public sector funding leveraging private sector investment) • Non retail anchors becoming increasingly important • 30k to 300k visitors (152k for Grace Kelly) • Brand ‘Bendigo’ now has national reach that is resulting in return visitors • Streetscape / capital works / heritage restoration scheme


Before


After


Before


After


Before


After


Lessons? • The importance of a strategic vision and strong leadership • The need for ‘tools’ to implement ($ for catalyst projects, Heritage Loans, smooth planning process) • The ability to take educated risks • Reinforcing / cascading plans are easier to translate into $


Case Study 2: Two steps forward, one step back • Walk Bendigo – branding a project that didn’t need branding – easy to attack / became a political issue • City maturity tested (sometimes a bridge too far is still a bridge too far) • Demonstrates the need for continuity of a shared vision • Is selling an idea better than evolving over time?


Walk Bendigo concept plans


Once constructed it looks like this


…and this


…and this


…and even this


Lessons? • The importance of delivering an agreed strategic vision (and making connections to it) • The need for a stronger mandate to keep going (more than just a pilot project) • Best practice design needs local advocates (not just visiting experts) • People need to be able to understand ‘why’ and you need to be able to demonstrate ‘how’


Case Study 3: Road Transport Study • Community involvement (but only after they got all fired up after 4 lane road proposal) • City maturity (no longer accept old style predict and provide rationale) • Highlights the risk of handing over a project to experts not committed to the vision


Integrated Transport & Land Use Strategy • Repurpose community energy • Understand opportunities • Build local capability • Focus on engagement • Agree to collaborative, yet locally driven direction


Lessons? • Which ‘vision’ is the right vision? • The need to engage rather than consult • Community expects strategy to respond to the needs of tomorrow – ‘be tomorrow today’


WHY IS IT WORKING? IN CONCLUSION The City’s approach is working because: • It reconnects all the people involved in planning • There is a framework of integrated strategies • It is based on challenging conventional thinking and centred on community visioning • It makes you accountable


KEYS TO SUCCESS • Shared vision for the key outcomes / clear priorities and intent • Passionate people across the organisation doing their bit • Funding / commitment • Statutory systems (planning scheme) as one tool • Commitment to integrated delivery


…but sometimes it goes wrong!


…and why? • It is really hard to keep up the momentum • You need consistency and involvement from ‘ideas through to delivery’ • It is hard to get new people to tap into the vision when they haven’t been part of developing it • We often over complicate our vision and strategies • We need local advocates


The next phase • Active participants in a ‘thinking community’ model • Focussed on strategy development that recognises diversity of the community and economy • Investing in the our next boom through investment in community facilities (arts,culture,health)


New $630M hospital


Library expansion


1,000 seat theatre


n.byrne@bendigo.vic.gov.au p.dearaugo@bendigo.vic.gov.au


Byrne, Nick (2B)