Encouraging live music, bringing events to the suburbs and activating the city after dark feature prominently in Wollongong City Council’s new creative plan.
The draft framework is to replace the current Cultural Plan which expires at the end of this year. Councilors voted on Monday in favour of the document being open to public scrutiny from January 8 to February 12.
Creative Wollongong 2019-2024 follows a review of what’s so far worked for council and what could be expanded upon in a bid to build a more vibrant city.
“There was a time only a few years ago there were only two galleries in Wollongong now they’re popping up,” Councilor Leigh Colacino said.
“People are realising – as with the night time economy – if we allow those things to die or live music fade way it’s going to be lost forever so people are embracing that.”
Council gathered the thoughts and ideas of 796 people from different cross-sections of the community and formulated four focus areas: creative life; creative community; creative spaces and place; and city after dark.
Plans include to review closing hours for small bars and venues; increase the amount of blanket development applications for events; streamline approval processes for small-scale and temporary live music and performance activities; and activate unique spaces with creative events and pop-ups, including in the suburbs day and evening.
Other key initiatives outlined were to work with Venues NSW towards an upgrade of WIN Entertainment Centre; nurture existing and up-and-coming artists and musicians; review policies to allow more council owned venues to be used for live music and events; pay homage to the city’s Indigenous and European heritage; and making events more accessible.
“It’s interesting for our tourists to be able to come to a city that delivers something that’s not just one flavour, they’re coming to a really vibrant city,” Cr Colacino said.
COUNCIL SURVEYS FOUND:
- People miss out on events because they didn’t know about them or found out after the event
- Cost of attending cultural activities could be challenging
- People want more opportunities to engage and learn about Aboriginal culture
- The creative community feel there is a lack of spaces – eg studios and rehearsal rooms
- People want more community events outside of the CBD
- People want more frequent public transport to events
- 85% of people agreed arts, heritage and culture were important aspects of community life
- 68% of residents had participated in at least one cultural activity in the past year
- 67% agreed that cultural diversity and creativity is valued and celebrated