The Batemans Bay Waterfront Master Plan will proceed to the national Australian Institute of Landscape Architects Awards after taking out two state awards.
Eurobodalla Shire Council and its consulting partners Inspiring Place won the Excellence in Urban Design category and also took out the Regional Achievement Award during an online ceremony held last Wednesday night.
According to the judges, it was the Batemans Bay plan’s pop-up activations that set it apart from the competition which included master plans for the Liverpool City Public Domains and Campbelltown City Centre.
The jury said the community program of pop-up activations “…brought people together on a journey of exploration of their waterfront and a shared understanding of its potential”, adding the plan could be applied successfully to any community.
Council’s manager of strategic planning Elizabeth Rankin said the award was welcome recognition for the plan and the community.
“The idea of the master plan was to bring this much-loved but under-utilised waterfront precinct back to life,” she said.
“Batemans Bay businesses and residents have been right behind the ideas in the plan during its preparation and since.”
Ms Rankin said a two-day foreshore activation event with music, food and activities in November 2019 served as a successful pilot and showed the potential of the space.
“Since then, the plan allowed us to attract funding to host the pop-up 3×3 basketball and skate and BMX days for young people earlier this year, and to install the dining pods and giant photo frame,” she added.
“Other funding was provided to the Bay Chamber to organise music events on the foreshore over summer – all part of the plan.”
The winners’ list revealed some of the most outstanding projects in NSW across 16 categories including Urban Design, Infrastructure, Play Spaces, Health and Education Landscape and Community Contribution.
Jury chair Joshua French said last year’s pandemic and the resulting neighbourhood lockdowns focused unprecedented attention on the need for exemplary outdoor spaces.
“Everyone started going to their local park or walking track and those places became really important to people,” Mr French said.
“We felt more connected to those spaces like never before.”
In further accolades, Ms Rankin explained the youth events had been selected as a case study for the forthcoming Department of Sport physical activity strategy.
They have also been included in a report for the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment highlighting projects that have re-engaged people with green public spaces.
“The award is lovely recognition and we owe huge thanks to Inspiring Place for their wonderful work with us and to the businesses and residents of Batemans Bay for embracing the plan and its ideas from the outset,” she said.
“And there’s much more to come.”
The national Australian Institute of Landscape Architects awards will be held in October.