Project name: Sunshine lighting program
Organisation: Brimbank City Council and Sunshine Business Association
Grant fund: Community Safety Fund
Grant amount: $10,000 awarded to each organisation
Total project cost: $26,000 ($6000 council in-kind contribution)
Project partners: Local businesses and traders, Victoria Police
Sunshine town centre has been revitalised at night through a combined approach to community safety by Brimbank City Council and the Sunshine Business Association.
In 2014, an independent lighting audit recommended lighting upgrades throughout the town centre; under-awning lighting was chosen as the existing awnings restricted the use of poles.
The broader community and business owners had also expressed concerns about safety in the area, particularly at night, and traders were reluctant to open after dark due to poor levels of lighting and a lack of pedestrian traffic.
By combining the grant funding, 11 businesses in Hampshire Road were able to either upgrade or receive new lighting and 20 LED lights were installed.
The project has improved perceptions of safety and increased pedestrian use along Hampshire Road, which is a main thoroughfare between Sunshine Railway Station and the main street.
Community members and local traders have welcomed the new lighting, and traders have built on it to encourage community use of the area by opening later into the evening and hosting twilight community events, such as a rock concert hosted by the Sunshine Business Association.
The project has also increased local traders’ awareness about how they can improve perceptions of safety both inside and outside their premises, and contributed to broader efforts to invest in the streetscape, including policing, rapid graffiti removal and tackling rubbish dumping.
The project partners have been particularly pleased with such positive outcomes and feedback arising from a simple, accessible and cost-effective initiative.
Brimbank City Council is continuing to work with stakeholders to implement the Hampshire Road Master Plan and activate the town centre by expanding the lighting program and improving amenity and perceptions of safety, alongside the redevelopment of the new Sunshine Railway Station and the Community and Civic Centre in Hampshire Road.
Working in partnership with local traders, landowners and Victoria Police has been the key to delivering real results for the community. Council used lighting audits and assessments against Australian Standards to determine the best approach and discuss the benefits of the new lighting with local businesses.
Both Brimbank City Council and Sunshine Business Association are continuing to invest in similar projects, which has encouraged landowners and tenants to invest in maintaining shopfronts.
For both parties, the program also reinforced the importance of speaking to landowners and shopkeepers about why this type of lighting is important from a safety and community perspective, and the need to obtain permissions for any installations – this increased the community’s support.
The images above show the shopping strip before and after the new under-awning lighting was installed.