Harbord Diggers has undergone constant and extensive community consultation and from this process established a new and better plan moving forward - employing the advice and services of a new team of project planning consultants.
This team includes former Urban Planning Advisor to the City of Sydney, Michael Harrison and plans to undertake an objective, transparent, technically robust assessment of the site's opportunity to move towards a concept for the Digger's long-term investment in the renewal of the site and Freshwater Headland.
So as to continue as a social enterprise, Harbord Diggers has committed to not subdivide its land and will remain the sole owner and an investor in the improvement of the site. It will also look to accommodate all car parking in any renewal of the site and to no longer rely on the license of the Crown Land car park.
Every opportunity throughout the consultation process was made to members and the community. Interested people could contact the independent consultation team at any time during the process and could express their views regarding the site through:
- Attending the community information and feedback sessions held at the Club
- Emailing the Urbis team at email@example.com
- Calling the Urbis consultation team on 1800 244 863
To garner feedback on the development plans, Harbord Diggers collected both petition signatures and support letters from members and the public who wanted to support the plans. In total through both stages of the development campaign, the club received more than 10,000 signatures and letters.
The urban benefits are extensive for the community, with the main benefits being:
- Financial viability and sustainability - without profit the club cannot sustain the extensive community support in cash and kind that it currently contributes to the local community of some $3.3M in the past 5 years
- Economic and social benefit to the Northern Beaches, creating more than 390 jobs and injecting around $21 million per year into the local economy
- Revised traffic flows, which will maintain conditions on the immediate surrounding streets
- Development of a professional childcare centre for up to 90 local children
- Improved open spaces on the site with planned landscaped areas adjacent to and around the site, as well as open corridors to connect areas between the headland
- A community centre space for a broad range of uses including sport, meetings and other group uses for all ages
- Community day care facilities for the separate care of physically disabled youth, disabled aged persons and dementia sufferers
- The creation of a new state of the art fitness centre and aquatic facilities
- Development of an independent and active lifestyle retirement and residential village for over 55s
- The addition of new members services such as wellbeing and allied health services
- A modern social hub with panoramic ocean views, restaurants, bars, entertainment offerings and new function facilities
The new Harbord Diggers design is unique in its ability to respond to the local character of the area and is strongly influenced by the natural landscape of its headland location. The design takes great advantage of the sites panoramic views and distinctive coastal features and will become a modern social hub for the entire community to enjoy.
Overall the design celebrates the location of the precinct, integrates within the current natural environment and existing character, retains the club and community uses, ensures flexibility and accessibility for all community members and considers the changing needs of the community.
During the planning process, Harbord Diggers underwent a robust Consultation Process broadly in the community, with members also being canvassed for their opinion and a progressive community consultation program, which included surveys with the community.
The Diggers applied a 'whole-of-site' approach to the renewal in order to ensure that the best utilisation of space is achieved and the correct mix of uses is provided to meet community needs and generate revenue.
The Harbord Diggers has a much lower level of gambling revenue than most other clubs and the redevelopment and diversification is an active move by the Harbord Diggers to move away from any reliance on gambling revenue. Harbord Diggers already provides onsite counselling for problem gamblers and will continue to do so and the Club supports the Government's education program, with literature and information available on the Clubs website and within the Club itself.
Yes the club will be in operation throughout the entire redevelopment process. Of course with any construction, there are likely to be inconveniences, however Harbord Diggers will have the support of project and construction managers to assist with ensuring minimal impact to members and guests. Throughout the entire process the Diggers have a plan to maintain regular communication with local residents, members and the community.
Extensive research has been undertaken, with Harbord Diggers commissioning independent market advice from specialist Aged Care Sector Specialists, which has identified a shortage in the supply of good quality senior's living accommodation in the LGA and adjacent LGA's. These include the following Specialist:
- Colliers Int.
- Ernst & Young
This research has concluded that there is a shortage of seniors living in the northern beaches, not just Freshwater, with the proportion of residents aged 65 and older projected to increase from 15.3% in 2011, to 20% by 2036, an increase of 15,100 seniors.
Warringah Council does not currently have a specific ageing planning or policy response in specific regard to the increasing and unmet demand of seniors in the Northern Beaches.
It is difficult for commercial organisations to acquire land of a size in areas such as the Northern beaches for the purpose of providing appropriate housing for an aging population near to the communities they have lived in.
The Harbord Diggers has been running at a loss for many years and this was the key reason that we sought assistance from the Mounties Group in 2006. Over the last 6 years with over $9.2M in total. This has been funded by the Mounties Group since they took over in 2006. The main reasons the Diggers has not able to run profitably are;
- The aged building and facilities require constant and expensive maintenance that has run into the millions of dollars.
- The current facilities are not suited to the needs of a diverse community club in 2012 and therefore are not able to attract the ongoing usage and revenue that is required
- The current layout of the club is over 5 storeys with 22 different levels which is inefficient and inflexible for a modern clubs commercial utilisation
- The current facilities and environment of the Diggers is not suited to attracting new members and younger members to use the facilities
- Because the Diggers is losing money it does not have the resources to run marketing campaigns and offer new attractions to build new membership to the level required for sustainability
During this period of substantial loses the Diggers has continued to support local charities and clubs with over $3.3M.
A Social Enterprise is an organisation that applies commercial strategies to maximize improvements in human and environmental well-being, rather than maximising profits for external shareholders.
Social enterprises can be structured as a for-profit or non-profit, and may take the form of a co-operative, mutual organization, a social business, or a charity organisation.
In the Harbord Diggers case it is a Social Enterprise as it is a non-profit organisation which runs a commercial enterprise in order to be able to contribute benefits back to its members and the local community.
Many commercial enterprises would consider themselves to have social objectives, but commitment to these objectives is motivated by the perception that such commitment will ultimately make the enterprise more financially valuable. Social Enterprises differ in that, inversely, they do not aim to offer any benefit to their investors, except where they believe that doing so will ultimately further their capacity to realize their social and environmental goals.
The term has a mixed and contested heritage due to its philanthropic roots in the US, and cooperative roots in the UK, EU and Asia. In the US, the term is associated with 'doing charity by doing trade', rather than 'doing charity while doing trade'. In other countries, there is a much stronger emphasis on community organising, democratic control of capital and mutual principles, rather than philanthropy. In recent years, there has been a rise in the concept of social purpose businesses which pursue social responsibility directly, or raise funds for charitable projects.
Many entrepreneurs, whilst running a profit focused enterprise that they own, will make charitable gestures through the enterprise, expecting to make a loss in the process. However, social enterprises are differentiated through transparent evidence that their social aims are primary, and that profits are secondary.
Being a Social Enterprise includes significant re-investment in and maintenance of a club's "Social Hubs" (hospitality venues) as part of the social benefit does not apologise for responsibly "carrying out trade" in Gaming and Beverage while also concurrently investing in other assets that will allow it to grow the enterprise.
The new development includes revised traffic flows, which will improve conditions on the immediate streets surrounding the site. The development also allows better public transport access for seniors and increased parking within the site. Seniors with good facilities available within the club have a much lower use of vehicles than other age groups.
Parking will always be sufficiently accommodated at Harbord Diggers, with the redevelopment allowing for ample parking within the site, predominantly underground, and will not rely on or need any adjacent car park.
The car parking on crown land is licenced and paid for by the Diggers for the use of its members. Currently a few local residents use this car park and at times may not comply with the car parking time limits. If they already are, or choose to become, a member they will of course be able to use the Diggers facilities that are provided for all members use. However the car parking is provided for all members use not local residents.
One of the key elements of the architectural appointment was that Architectus + CHROFI had included landscape architects, JMD Design in their team.
The Architectus + CHROFI + JMD Design concept incorporates well planned landscape elements for the Harbord Diggers precinct. The proposed landscaping design confidently blurs the boundary between art, architecture and landscape, delivering a unique and modern precinct for the site. The new design significantly enhances the current site landscaping and includes a proposal to re-vegetate the headland, with improved pedestrian access, enhancement of public memorials and provision of a high quality outdoor environment, with plenty of open spaces.
The new site will promote a variety of sustainable initiatives in its development.
The new development will utilise sustainable technologies to reduce environmental impact wherever possible. The local environment will also be enhanced and with the bulk of which will be recycled onsite, improving size distribution and scale, as well as creating a better looking structure on the headland. Other ESD initiatives include; maximising sun light access, use of cross ventilation and green roofs, and stormwater reuse.