Public art, an expanded CCTV network and planter box-style bollards are among the anti-terror measures being considered by Wollongong City Council, as the federal government moves to prevent vehicular attacks in public spaces.
While the Crown Street Mall has been at the centre of recent security scrutiny, Wollongong lord mayor Gordon Bradbery said the council’s focus had widened to include a number of high-pedestrian areas.
“We’re moving into a new phase of designing public spaces,” Cr Bradbery said.
“What used to just be about the flow of people and those sorts of risk now have to take [into account] terrorism and any anti-social behaviours, which involve vehicles and the attempt of mass destruction.”
Events across the city would also be placed under increased scrutiny, with a focus on risk management.
“That’s not just about the mall, it could be a pedestrian crossing, it could be an intersection where there’s a lot of pedestrian traffic, for instance, or alfresco dining,” he said.
The Turnbull government unveiled its new national security program, dubbed Australia’s Strategy for Protecting Crowded Places from Terrorism, at the weekend.
The strategy includes a greater use of permanent bollards to separate pedestrians and vehicles, as well as CCTV cameras and high-visibility security patrols to deter potential attacks.
Cr Bradbery said the council would take the Commonwealth guidelines on board but stressed its response would be determined in consultation with the police, Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) and other agencies.
“We’ve got be careful of formulas because each event and each activity, no matter where it is, needs to have specific guidelines addressing that particular locality,” he said.
“Things in MacCabe Park would be different from what they would be in the mall, at a football match or an area outside the WEC, for instance, where you have large gatherings of people.
“These are what we might describe as hot spots and they will be incorporated in event planning.”
Asked about particular measures to be implemented, Cr Bradbery flagged a planned $500,000 spend on public art in the Crown Street Mall, existing CCTV in the area “that’ll probably be expanded over time” and bollards in the form of decorated planter boxes.
“Anti-terrorism measures are now going to be imbedded in all that we do when it comes to public events and public spaces,” he said.
The council revealed concept designs for the mall’s public art in November 2015.
The designs included a children’s playground made of rocks and trees, as well as rock platforms and shrubs.