What social infrastructure does Caboolture West need to thrive?

Moreton Bay Regional Council, QLD

Waraba Social Infrastructure Plan

Moreton Bay is going to expand – 70,000 more residents in the next 40 years in the Caboolture West area alone. Council asked Cred to determine what facilities, spaces, services, and networks were needed to support the wellbeing and quality of life of this community.

Council knows that in a new community like Waraba (formerly Caboolture West) the set-up of services and spaces will influence and impact each resident’s health, education and the social networks. The scheduling of this is crucial – as is ensuring that it’s done well and is accessible and welcoming to everyone. For example, it must be underpinned by Starting with Country to acknowledge the traditional owners of the area. There are a range of technical studies that inform the planning and development of greenfield growth areas – environmental studies, retail assessments, transport and movement plans – the list is long. Social infrastructure plans, in general, are one of the last plans to be prepared despite their importance.

For the future planning of Waraba, Council started with the social infrastructure plan in acknowledgement that this is a core building block for the new community. This strategic approach will support the future success of this growth area by allowing Council to identify and acquire appropriate sites early, budget for future investment, develop partnerships with key players, advocate to State government and others for service delivery and funding and will provide a strong basis for future negotiation with developers.

How we did it

It’s not often that we plan for a community of 70,0000 people from scratch. In order to understand the future population of Waraba and their evolving needs over time, our project team undertook analysis of the demographic and socio-economic characteristics of other greenfield residential communities in South East Queensland. This work was led by Urban Economics.

We analysed the growth and evolution of the greenfield developments of North Lakes, Aura, Yarrabilba, Ripley and Springfield, and the results were interesting. For example, greenfield communities initially attract a high proportion of family-oriented households, particularly those with young children. Then, over time, the  community ages and household types diversify. A high proportion of Australian-born residents are the first to live in these communities. As they evolve more residents born overseas move into the area. Initially, dwellings are mostly detached, however in later stages of development a higher diversity of attached dwelling stock is typically offered. As communities establish and age, the share of those reporting a need for assistance typically increases.

Understanding the demographic and socio-economic profile of the future community of Waraba provides critical insights into the range of facilities, services and amenities that residents will expect to access now and as the community grows over time. These community assets will also contribute to the quality of life, liveability, and marketability of the area.

Spread from ‘Waraba Social Infrastructure Plan’ by Cred Consulting

The outcome

The Waraba Social Infrastructure Plan directs the future delivery of community facilities and services via the community hub model. Through this approach community infrastructure is co-located into one location or building to provide better access to a wider range of services (or a “one stop shop”). It is widely recognised that this shared use and adaptable model is a more cost effective and equitable model of delivering and operating these services.

In addition to ‘traditional’ community facilities and services, the Waraba Social Infrastructure Plan acknowledges that there are a number of emerging types of social infrastructure that, up until recently, haven’t had desired standards of service in planning. In greenfield communities like Waraba, there is a heightened need to focus on local neighbourhood life and create opportunities for residents to meet, connect, build social capital and community resilience, rapidly and from day one.

The plan identifies some effective ‘quick win’ social infrastructure types that could be embedded into the emerging communities in Waraba, or co-located with the recommended hubs to better activate the facilities. Examples include water play, outdoor fitness stations, community gardens and off-leash dog parks.

I was asked to pass on to you thanks and congratulations for a great piece of work by Director of Planning on behalf of our Growth Areas Management Committee (GAMC). Well done! I presented to GAMC and they were very thankful for this early work identifying needs and very supportive. Thank you!”