Fast facts

Project name: Public safety lighting

Organisation: Abbotsford Convent Foundation

Grant fund: Community Safety Fund

Grant amount: $10,000

Total project cost: $13,350

Abbotsford Convent is a unique multi-arts and cultural precinct in Melbourne that welcomes almost one million visitors annually. The site is serviced by a large car park, which is used for pedestrian and vehicle access to Abbotsford Convent and to the Collingwood Children’s Farm next door.

A significant section of the car park on the east side was without suitable lighting and was very dark, leaving the many patrons who used the facility at night for events and activities feeling unsafe. The Abbotsford Convent Foundation also received reports of theft, vandalism and harassment occurring in the car park.

Abbotsford Convent Foundation was awarded a Community Safety Fund grant to install four new 80-watt LED floodlights on a new pole in the eastern end of the car park to improve safety and increase natural surveillance.

Since the lighting was installed in November 2015, no further incidents of theft, vandalism and harassment in the car park have been reported.

There have also been hundreds of after-hours events (such as weddings, outdoor cinema screenings, festivals and performances) held at the Abbotsford Convent and Collingwood Children’s Farm, involving thousands of patrons using the car park at night.

Many of these visitors and stakeholders have said that the safety lighting has increased visibility and created a safer environment for using the precinct. The venue hirers, tenants, staff and visitors now have more confidence when using the car park and when promoting its use to their clients.

The safety lighting has also ensured that the entire car park area now meets local council recommendations for lighting.

As the lighting works involved excavations, installation of new underground electric cabling, and installation of steel poles to mount floodlights, traffic management was challenging at peak times (during nearby school drop-offs and pick-ups). Clear markings around the work sites and communication with patrons were required to manage this.