The Bendigo & District Aboriginal Co-Operative is a multi-service healthcare agency. It provides a range of health and social welfare services to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island community.
In 2013, architects Silver Thomas Hanley engaged Spiire’s Town Planning team to consolidate their services under one roof.
The site was chosen for its location to the surrounding bushland. Aboriginal culture has a strong relationship with the bush and the setting is an important factor in the co-operative’s philosophy of providing holistic healthcare to their clients.
The impressive facility include: a primary health care clinic, children and family services and a large cultural centre.
The development’s semi-urban location and proximity to bushland provided a number of challenges to the planning process. These included the impact of bushfire, native vegetation, infrastructure servicing and traffic.
Constant consultations with neighbouring residents helped to ease the planning process. These were in addition to the normal statutory advertising requirements and ensured the residents were fully informed and supportive of the project.
Spiire went to extra lengths in our negotiations with the Country Fire Authority (CFA) to ensure appropriate bushfire protection measures were met. The CFA agreed to an alternative method for establishing the Bushfire Attack Level rating for the construction standards of the buildings.
Spiire also facilitated discussions with Parks Victoria and the local Aboriginal community. We established a plan for the surrounding bushland reserve that enabled both parties to assist in the ongoing management and maintenance of the reserve.
These combined efforts ensured that Spiire successfully secured the required planning approvals for the project.
Completed in 2014, the centre is now a key healthcare provider to the Aboriginal people of Dja Dja Wrung.
It provides a modern facility that delivers much needed healthcare via a tangible connection with the local landscape, which is such an important element of the Aboriginal culture.