A CONCEPT design for the future of the existing Port Macquarie Police Station precinct has been lauded as an "inspiring" and "visionary" proposal that will connect the town centre's heritage and cultural history.
Councillors congratulated the cultural steering group and the Town Centre Master Plan (TCMP) committee at the June 16 council meeting for their efforts in turning a vision into a design reality in no less than two weeks.
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council at its May meeting pushed an idea to conserve the Port Macquarie police station site as a celebration of the region's history.
The state government has allocated $1.1 million for planning towards a new police station and the purchase of a new site.
The concept design project for the existing site, awarded to King and Campbell on May 28, was finalised and submitted on June 9.
The tick of approval will now enable council to go out to the community to seek feedback and suggestions to further refine a vision for the site. The project does rely on council acquiring the land from the state government after the police station moves.
Member for Port Macquarie Leslie Williams has said the future use of the current police station site is yet to be determined.
"NSW Police Force is currently evaluating options for a future site for the Port Macquarie Police Station," Mrs Williams said. "Operational requirements determine the use of police station properties and comment on use of property assets would be speculative at this time."
The design proposal includes physical links to the Town Green, Glasshouse and Port Macquarie Museum; visual links to the Hastings River and intrinsic links to other buildings of heritage and cultural significance within the Port Macquarie CBD (both European and Aboriginal).
The proposed plans focus on heritage as the "hero" of the site with the former court house, former police station and lock up residence, and Norfolk Island Pines to be retained.
Deputy mayor Lisa Intemann congratulated all involved for bringing the concept to life in such a short turn around.
"This is the opening up of a heritage area," Cr Intemann said.
"I was involved with the saving of the historic courthouse back in 1990-1993 and that really was a commitment by the community towards its heritage.
"It involves people gathering around and getting on a campaign and championing for it. It was truly an exciting time - challenging, heartbreaking at times, but that historic courthouse is still there.
"This proposal can add so much to that area."
Cr Rob Turner said the project was "visionary".
"We're dealing with something that could happen, and if it does happen, will make our place a lot better," Cr Turner said.
"As a design it sparks the imagination of our community to consider what might be possible for that piece of land to enhance our heritage and enhance our connections from the CBD to the water.
"It gives us something to go to the state government with and say this is what we want to do with your police station site and we want it to be a part of our community into the future."
Cr Geoff Hawkins said it has been one of the most exciting projects he has been involved in and now it will be relying on conversations via the Member for Port Macquarie to make it happen.
Cr Peter Alley said the project ticks all the right boxes.
"It's the right thing for the community, right thing for the environment, it's the right thing for our heritage and will enhance our very important foreshore area and build a bridge into the historic zone."
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: