Why is this project happening?

    The Wollondilly Cultural Precinct in Picton is an important and transformative project, providing contemporary community and cultural facilities for the wider Wollondilly Shire community.

    Construction of the Precinct will also provide local economic stimulus, construction jobs and more employment – supporting local businesses and the broader Wollondilly community. 

    The vision is for the Precinct to become the community, civic, cultural and economic heart of Wollondilly.  

    It seeks to provide a flexible, multipurpose community space that supports a diversity of community, cultural and civic activities and attracts a wide range of community members, businesses and visitors.

    The Precinct would also be a community gathering place that provides a safe and inclusive venue for a wide range of formal and informal events and activities.

    What benefits will the Wollondilly Cultural Precinct bring to the community?

    The Wollondilly Cultural Precinct will bring numerous benefits to the Wollondilly community. Including:

    • Providing Service to the Community

    Wollondilly Shire Council wants to maintain and improve our service to the community, now and into the future. 

    • Anchoring and Investing in Picton

    Picton is recognised as a central location in Wollondilly Shire, and the historical heart of the region. The two options to locate Council’s administration operations were Wilton and Picton; Council chose to invest in Picton. Council is planning for the future and in order to improve our service delivery for our growing community we need the space now. Wilton would not be possible for another 10 years. By remaining in Picton, Council will also be able to support local businesses, enhance the town centre and celebrate its history.

    • More Local Jobs

    Wollondilly’s growing population will require a level of service that will only be possible with more staff and better facilities – this will also mean more local jobs both during the construction phase and operational phase of the Wollondilly Cultural Precinct. The presence and operation of a performing arts centre, children’s services facility, state of the art library and large corporate office building in town is also beneficial for local providers of goods and services in terms of the demand for local services from cafes, restaurants, supermarkets, pharmacies and a wide range of local businesses

    • Energy Efficient

    New, energy-efficient buildings will be more cost effective to operate and maintain – which means better value for Wollondilly ratepayers.

    • Environmentally Sustainable

    Environmentally sustainable buildings will mean we are playing our part and leading by example in reducing our environmental impact. Some of the buildings will include aspects like harvesting water and using solar energy.

    • A Community Asset

    The new buildings will be community assets with benefits for residents such as bookable meeting rooms, workspaces with desks, WIFI, booths and cubicles, underground parking anticipated to be available to the public after hours (e.g. for concerts). As well as this the Wollondilly Cultural Precinct will provide a range of opportunities for the community to participate and enjoy a number of recreational activities. 

    • Making Space for a New Library

    Once Wollondilly Council staff occupy the new Government Services Building, the existing Council Administration building can be demolished to make way for construction of a larger, and more modern Library and Performing Arts Centre. 

    What will the Wollondilly Cultural Precinct provide?

    • A refurbished Shire Hall that will cater for Council meetings, as well as a wide variety of community groups and events
    • New performance and exhibition spaces
    • A new village green and a range of inclusive public open spaces that incorporate quality landscaping and public art
    • A new contemporary library 
    • Access to multipurpose community spaces 
    • A new Government Services Building which would include Council’s administration offices and accommodate other Government Services and Agencies in the one location for easy access by the community within the Shire
    • A new contemporary Children’s Services facility including a preschool
    • Greater employment and business opportunities through improved meeting spaces and access to working hubs once the Precinct is established
    • A greater investment in Picton to support local businesses and provide local job opportunities for the community during construction and throughout the ongoing operation of the Precinct.

    Why Picton?

    The Wollondilly Cultural Precinct will strengthen Picton’s role as the cultural and civic heart of Wollondilly. It will provide an important opportunity to conserve Picton’s heritage and character while offering contemporary facilities that will make Wollondilly an even better place to live, learn, work and play.

    Everything happens in Picton. What about the other towns and villages?

    While the Wollondilly Cultural Precinct is located in Picton it will have widespread benefits for the whole Wollondilly community. As well as the Wollondilly Cultural Precinct, Council continues to deliver a range of other major projects across the Shire. In recent years we have delivered major upgrades to Tahmoor Sporting Complex (with more to come), a new skate park in Appin, construction of a youth zone at Telopea Park, outdoor exercise equipment in various towns across the Shire, an inclusive playspace in Warragamba and so much more. We have a number of other projects underway or nearing completion that we know will contribute to making Wollondilly an even better place. Council is committed to continuing to deliver projects that benefit the whole community across the Shire. Head to Council's website to keep up to date with what other projects are happening across the Shire.

    How will the Wollondilly Cultural Precinct celebrate and pay tribute to Wollondilly’s rich history?

    Wollondilly has a rich European and Indigenous history which Council is keen to celebrate across the Wollondilly Cultural Precinct. The Shire Hall remains a centrepiece of the Wollondilly Cultural Precinct; and while we aim to build facilities that are modern and meet the needs of our community now and into the future; they will also pay homage to our European and Indigenous heritage and tie in with the heritage features of the Shire Hall. Council will also be exploring a number of opportunities to acknowledge our heritage through public art and partnerships with various community groups.

    What is council doing about energy efficiency and environmental sustainability?

    Council is using Environmentally Sustainable Design (ESD) principles to guide the design process for the site. Key elements are: 

    • Passive Design – aims to reduce the demand on energy and water.
    • Equipment Efficiencies – focuses on energy efficient equipment and reducing CO2 emissions.
    • Environmental Impact – aims to reduce environmental impact of materials and technology by adopting a lifecycle approach, where resource extraction, manufacture, installation, operation and end-of-life treatment are all considered.
    • Financial Viability – considers capital expenditure and operational costs including maintenance and end-of-life treatment. 

    Some of the opportunities across the site include installation of solar panels to maximise use of solar power; rainwater storage and distribution for use in flushing toilets and landscaping; Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) and measures to reduce runoff; landscape design to include drought tolerant plants; and a bicycle end-of-ride facility.

    What will the Government Services Building include?

    The Government Services Building will house Council’s Administration Offices as well as feature lettable spaces for other Government agencies or Non-Government service providers to co-locate with Council. This will mean the community will have greater access to a range of Government services in one location and also result in the Government Services Building paying for itself over time through the income generated from the lettable spaces.

    The current proposal incorporates: 

    • A modern and efficient development of two-four storeys with setbacks to reduce visual scale which would accommodate Council staff and provide space to co-locate a range of other Government and non-Government services
    • On-site parking. This parking area is anticipated to be available for community use outside of business hours as a shared resource.
    • An outlook from the foyer onto the Village Green
    • Access to the new Library
    • A range of community spaces such as bookable meeting rooms and workspaces 

    Council’s aim is to future-proof the Shire for future growth and design a building that minimises visual scale but is also suitable for and enhances Picton as the Shire’s civic and cultural heart.  

    What’s wrong with the existing Council Administration Building? Why can’t Council continue to operate out of the current Administration Building?

    The existing Council Administration building has a number of issues with it that would result in it being more costly to continue to operate out of the building compared to the new Government Services Building including: 

    • Its nearing the end of its useful life and is deteriorating rapidly with significant building condition issues and does not meet current accessibility standards
    • Generates increased maintenance and building management costs
    • Would be disproportionately expensive to renovate and modernize in order to meet contemporary community standards e.g. functionality, flexibility, accessibility, energy efficiency, environmental sustainability, internal and external appearance
    • Has no capacity to meet the expected increases in staff numbers necessary to support the growth of the Wollondilly
    • Occupies a key location on the site, identified in the adopted Master Plan as the site for the new Wollondilly Library.

    How much will Stage 2 of the Wollondilly Cultural Precinct cost, and how is it being funded?

    The estimated cost for Stage 2 work is in the order of $35m.  This includes the Government Services Building and new parking. Council requires detailed designs to accurately identify the cost of Stage 2, however Council intends to include lettable space in the Government Services Building that will ensure the building pays for itself over the life of the asset.

    How long will the Wollondilly Cultural Precinct take to finish?

    Given the size and complexity of the Wollondilly Cultural Precinct the entire project will take 10 years to complete and is expected to be finished in 2030.

    The Government Services Building which forms part of Stage 2 of the project has to progress through planning, design and approval pathways prior to construction. These phases are currently underway and expected to take at least two years. Council is planning to commence construction as early as the 2024/25 financial year. 

    The first stage of the project focused on upgrades to the Shire Hall, construction of a new Children’s Services Building, more parking and the Performing Arts Centre. Much of this work in Stage 1 is well underway or complete.

    What about parking?

    We know parking is a concern for the community. Council has developed a parking strategy to make sure we are delivering appropriate and accessible parking options for the community in and around Picton. 

    Specifically, parking spaces are planned for the basement of the Government Services Building. Accessible parking spaces are planned for Menangle Street and Corbett (Manolis) Lane.  Additional car parks and spaces are being identified around Picton town centre to ensure there is parking available both during the daytime and evening. As well as a number of other options being considered, including ‘kiss and ride’ drop off zones, timed parking and accessible parking closer to the centre of town - with longer stay parking a short walk away (100-200m), and the slow transition towards being a town centre for people rather than vehicles. 

    Council has already delivered more parking during Stage 1 of the Wollondilly Cultural Precinct in Walton Street with more to come.

    Is this project taking money away from roads?

    No. We hear the community’s concerns about roads and we are investing more than ever before in our capital works program. Delivery of the Wollondilly Cultural Precinct project does not affect funding for Council’s Road Renewal and upgrade program which continues as a critical priority. Council is continuing to invest funds and resources into maintaining our road network but we are also planning for the future by progressing the Wollondilly Cultural Precinct. The Shire is growing rapidly, so while we are pouring all our efforts right now into fixing our roads, we also need to plan for our future so we can maintain and enhance our services as our population increases. The Wollondilly Cultural Precinct will help us meet the future needs of our growing community.  

    What is Council doing about the roads?

    We know the community is frustrated with the state of Wollondilly’s roads. Council is responsible for 870km of roads and our number one priority is increasing the quality of our road network through ongoing maintenance and resurfacing to improve safety. We have a detailed plan for how we are maintaining our roads and we continue to increase the amount of funding we invest into our road network maintenance. We are also working harder than ever to seek support from the State Government to accelerate road infrastructure such as the Picton Bypass, a critical piece of infrastructure that will ease current and predicted traffic congestion issues as well as provide safer evacuation routes for residents during times of natural disasters, and directly manage some of our major roads such as Remembrance Drive and Silverdale Road.  If you would like to find out more about what we are doing to fix our roads head to our website.

    Does this possible increased height allowed for the Government Services Building establish a precedent across the Shire?

    The planning approval only applies to the site and does not amend the planning controls for any other sites within Picton or Wollondilly Shire. The building height for the wider town centre is 9m under the WLEP 2011, which is the applicable height limit against which future applications for other sites within the town centre will be assessed.

    Why is Council allowed to increase the height of their own building when other property owners aren’t allowed to?

    Council followed a transparent and public facing planning proposal process to amend the 9m height limit imposed in the Wollondilly Local Environmental Plan (LEP). This process requires external assessment by the NSW Department of Planning who assess the merit of such proposals in making a determination. Any developer or property owner may follow the same planning proposal process to request changes to an LEP such as rezoning land categories for future housing etc.

    How will the new building affect nearby residents on Colden Street?

    The design concept enables the future Government Services Building to provide an appropriate transition to neighbouring buildings and to respond to the character of the area.

    In particular, the concept design seeks to respond to the topography of the site and the scale of surrounding development by transitioning height across the site from two to four storeys. The eastern elevation of the building is to comprise a two storey façade, similar to the existing scale of development along Colden Street. 

    The two storey building height presented to Colden Street would be achieved through the incorporation of a large building setback to Colden Street, together with a design that responds to the sloping nature of the site by transitioning the ground floor level to underground basement car parking. This design approach will avoid privacy impacts to properties on the eastern side of Colden Street.

    Will building the Government Services Building directly affect my rates? Will they go up?

    No. Rates will not increase due to the construction of the Government Services Building. The Government Services Building will include lettable space which means that it will pay for itself over the project lifetime.