One of our Asset Based Community Driven projects which came out of our Peter Kenyon Workshop!
The Queen Street Servo Project
The Queen Street servo is an abandoned service station on the corner of Queen and king Streets Warilla. It has been abandoned for the last fifteen-odd years. The mechanic’s workshop to the right of the building has been tenanted for a few years but has now been vacant for the last two years.
The servo has been identified as a visual blight on the neighbourhood and serves only to drag down the visual and psychological amenity of the neighbourhood. It has been said that if we could do something with the servo (and the park across the road) it would make a big difference for good to the perception of the neighbourhood to both residents and visitors.
The servo sits in the middle of a strip of community facilities — a strip of shops, a child care centre, a local park, a primary school and a community centre & Church — and casts a pall of neglect, both perceived and actual, across the precinct.
The servo is privately owned; the owners having very little to do with it apart from complying with council orders to clean it up from time to time. The front of the service station was removed by the owner following a compliance order to provide clear line of sight into the building. The bowser pumps are in a dreadful state of neglect bordering on dangerous and the underground tanks have not been decommissioned. The owners have given verbal permission for the site to be cleaned up. They have provided no assistance to that to date. We have asked if, having cleaned up the site, can we use it and they have given verbal permission for that. In regard to the existing mechanics workshop to the right of the site, they have not given any such permissions but have said that we can make them a ‘offer’ on what we would like to do with it.
The Vision –
To transform a neglected and abandoned building into a usable community asset.
Elements of the project
Engage community members to dream about what thee site could be used for
Draft up a plan of what to do to get the site ready for the proposed use
Enact the plan in manageable chunks, giving ownership to those who are involved
When the site is ready for use, use it and celebrate that use
Constantly review the plan, adding to the usability and amenity of the site as community asset while it is not commercially tenanted.
- 1. Clean up and beautify the site
Remove the rubbish
Kill and remove the grass growing through the concrete
Clean the walls and paint
Have the bowsers removed and the pipes capped to professional standards
Clean out the existing toilet space (make functional)
Clean out the mechanics workshop
2. Utilise the site
Design and facilitate the painting of a mural inside the shell of the building using local young people as thee artists under the direction and tutelage of community artists
Encourage the skaters, bike riders and other informal groups of young people to continue to use the site and to encourage them to take some ownership and responsibility for the site
Use the space for community development training ‘on site’.
Run a ‘youth group’ from the site (in summer)
Hold gatherings of local community agencies and services on the site
3. Develop the site and what we can do there
Design, build and install some recycled seating from old tyres and hardwood planking
Use recycled truck tyres as planters for started shade trees
Get water connected to the site
Develop the edged garden into a no-dig garden and invite local gardeners to develop a community garden
Obtain permission to use the mechanics workshop and open a ‘young men’s shed’ there focusing on car and motor bike maintenance. Engage a couple of retired mechanics to oversee and mentor the work
Run bicycle maintenance workshops teaching children and young people who to care for and maintain their bicycles.
Get electricity connected to the site
4. Build on the community capital raised to further develop the site, its usability and the projects/programs run from it
This is an evolving project dependent on the initiative of local resident to care enough to become active in its development. To that end we don’t want to be prescriptive as to what will or will not happen on the site.
Child Friendly by Design – 2528 project
Healthy Cities Illawarra
Communities for Children (CFC)
Warilla North Baptist Church
Access Community Group
Warilla North Community Centre
Potential future partners
Department of Education
Dunmore Rural Fire Service
Other local churches
University of the Third Age (U3A)
The project will be overseen by Healthy Illawarra as it is an integral part of the 2528 Project
Resources we still require
People with passion
Paint and painting equipment. Mural paint – colours
A legal agreement with thee owner
Support from agencies and services in the form of passionate people and access to networks and affirmative support
Young people (or young at heart people) from the community to paint the mural
A scribe to write down the story as we go
Someone from Gilbarco (the authorised contractor) to remove and cap the bowsers
A few dollars to cover incidentals
In the future –
Some building supplies
Two car/bike mechanics
A rubbish skip (BIG!)
More people with ideas about projects that will use the place
A few more dollars for the incidentals we forgot earlier
To contact us
For more information on the Queen Street Servo project go to http://www.facebook.com/QueenStreetServo?fref=ts
Or contact Brian Pember on 42295 1778 or 0425 382 568 (If I don’t answer the mobile send an SMS rather than leave a message) or at email@example.com
For info on the 2528 Project go to
Or contact Nikke Gladwin on 4226 5000 or at Nikke@healthyillawarra.org.au