12 Apr 2017

The Jury’s verdict on Parramatta’s iconic Civic Building and Library

City of Parramatta Council is taking its community consultation to a new level, using the recommendations of a Citizens’ Jury to help shape the interior design and function of its landmark civic and community building on Parramatta Square.

Earlier this year, a group of 33 randomly selected panel members was tasked with advising how 5 Parramatta Square (5PS) should best reflect the aspirations and needs of the Parramatta community.

The new community and civic building is set to be the architectural centrepiece of the Square and major showpiece for the City of Parramatta.

The Jury provided recommendations on a range of categories including: identity, sustainability, flexibility, design, future proofing, accessibility, reconciliation and name and uses of 5PS.

The result is a series of proposals including that the Civic building should ‘encourage connection and interaction between community and visitors and promote knowledge, creativity, diversity and democracy’.

City of Parramatta Administrator Amanda Chadwick said Citizens’ Juries are an innovative means of involving the local community in the process of Government decision making.

“Engaging our community in the process provides real benefits in terms of community support, pride and ‘ownership’ of the completed building. It ensures the needs and aspirations of the community will be considered in its design and operation,” Ms Chadwick said.

“Our Citizens’ Jury has delivered a number of recommendations that will inform the design elements that will be included in the Interior DA for 5 Parramatta Square, for formal consideration by Council.

“The community is at the very heart of Parramatta and it is fitting that this most democratic process has delivered its verdict on such a landmark community and civic building.”

Panel members included representatives from all of the suburbs in the Parramatta LGA and were selected to reflect the Census profile of the City of Parramatta. 

City of Sydney and Penrith City Council are among a handful of Sydney councils that have previously used Citizens’ Juries which are more commonly found interstate.

The Jury has recommended Council ensure the building is accessible to ‘one and all’ and that the facilities be built universally (to the least able person), and that access must not be considered ‘special’ or additional. 

Jury Member Katie Harwood addressed Council at its Public Forum and provided a compelling overview of her experiences as a Jury member and the Jury’s perspectives regarding accessibility: “Universal access is a basic requirement, one that must be built in from the ground up, not tacked on top, as if an afterthought”.The Council report and Jury recommendations can be accessed in the Business Papers section on Council’s website cityofparramatta.nsw.gov.au.