Fast facts:

Project name: Lohse Street Reserve Safety Improvements

Organisation: Hobsons Bay City Council

Grant fund: Public Safety Infrastructure Fund

Grant amount: $250,000

The Lohse Street Reserve in Laverton has undergone significant enhancements aimed at improving community perception of the reserve’s safety.

Criminal and anti-social activity was widespread, resulting in the reserve being largely unused during both the day and night. Community members were concerned about the lack of lighting and generally felt unsafe at night.

A survey of the owners from the adjacent Woods and Lohse Streets Shopping Precinct also identified that property damage, vandalism and safety generally were issues that needed to be addressed.

After securing a $250,000 Public Safety Infrastructure Fund grant through the Community Crime Prevention Program, council developed a comprehensive community and stakeholder engagement strategy. This strategy was used to inform the project and included a number of design workshops and public meetings to capture feedback. Through this process the community was able to contribute their ideas for the park, which included creating a safe space that was community focused and easily accessed by the various members of the community.

Specifically, the grant funding was used for the following: 

  • a new accessible unisex public toilet and integrated shelter structure 
  • new furniture, including picnic sets under the new shelter, seating, a drink fountain and bin 
  • improved pedestrian pathways, with generously sized paths constructed with cement stabilised granitic gravel 
  • improved public lighting, including four feature way-finding light poles and replacement of reserve overhead light fittings 
  • landscaping, including a nature-based children’s garden and tree planting 
  • full irrigation of reserve grassed areas and children’s garden, connected to council’s Smart Irrigation System.

The enhancements have created a vibrant and welcoming space for the community to enjoy, improving confidence and perceptions of safety in the area.

The new public toilet, shelter and landscaping was designed and constructed to provide clear sightlines throughout the reserve and improve natural surveillance. Existing lighting was also replaced with metal halide lights that provide a crisp white light with clear colour rendition, significantly changing the appearance of the reserve at night.

Since the completion of the project there is an increased sense of community pride and ownership of the space with a number of community activities to be held in the reserve during the coming year. Local police have also reported an increase in the use of the reserve and a reduction in incidents requiring police attendance.

It is anticipated that the improvements will increase the confidence of existing and potential traders to invest in the area, further building local activity in both the reserve and shopping district.

Watch the video clip below to find out more about this project.