Making connections

City of Canada Bay in Sydney has completed its largest ever project – an innovative community centre and library service, which has been funded through developer contributions.

The $21 million project ‘The Connection’, located in the suburb of Rhodes, is made up of four distinct community-focused buildings.

The Learning Space specialises in digital library resources and creative learning programs; The Meeting Space and The Event Space offer versatile venues with engaging contemporary interiors for community events, celebrations and workshops; and a restaurant.

It is the largest ever project undertaken by the Council, with planning and design 10 years in the making.

City of Canada Bay Mayor Helen McCaffrey said The Learning Space is a game changer in the library services sector.

“Here, the focus is on providing opportunities for people to become familiar with emerging digital technologies.  

“Instead of shelves of hard copy books, The Learning Space offers a suite of digital resources and online collections.

“The stylishly furnished open plan interiors are designed to foster collaboration with staff and other library users who’ve gathered to study, meet, work, and learn.”

The Learning Space offers regular workshops for all ages on diverse topics such as electronics, robotics or coding and provides access to high tech equipment including a 3D printer, A0 plotter and die cutter.

There are also studios fully equipped for sound recording or rehearsal, photography and video creation, along with a digital classroom with computers, projector and screen.

Mayor McCaffrey said the precinct was built for the rapidly growing population in Rhodes.

“We wanted a venue that would create a sense of place for the community, somewhere to meet, learn and become the hub of the suburb which is characterised by a predominance of high-density apartment living.”

In 2011, the Rhodes Peninsula (incorporating the suburbs of Rhodes and Liberty Grove) had a resident population of about 7727 people, just over double the 3713 residents recorded in 2006.

This year, this number is expected to rise to approximately 14,000 residents.

“The Council has been on the front foot in providing a great outcome for this expanding community through planning for spaces like The Connection,” Mayor McCaffrey said.    

“The overall design of the facility aims to delivers a variety of activities across the day for the community and a space that is sustainable socially, environmentally and financially.”