Kalamunda Community Centre
The City of Kalamunda has a growing population with a higher-than-average percentage of residents aged over 50 (when compared to other Perth metro Local Government Authorities). With a current population of 58,762 , the City is forecast to increase by almost 18%, between 2021 and 2041 .
Through a Lotterywest grant to build a new Kalamunda Community Centre, the City improved its capacity to provide affordable, accessible, and functional spaces for community members and groups to learn, connect and participate.
Towards the construction of the Kalamunda Community Learning Centre for the residents of Kalamunda and surrounds.
City of Kalamunda
Perth and Metro Area
Seniors (55 years and over), General Community
- Increase in sessions offered by Kalamunda Community Learning Centre have enabled the community to come together, connect, and skill-build with like-minded community members.
- Community organisations and individuals have been able to utilise the centre for a variety of events and workshops.
- The high-quality facilities, capacity and venue capabilities has strengthened the City of Kalamunda's ability to attract event to the area, boosting tourism, economic growth and showcasing local arts and cultural activity.
- Advocacy for a purpose built community centre over more than a decade started at a grass roots level, leading to high utilization rates.
- A community reference group helped the City of Kalamunda to understand and stay across local issues and community concerns.
- Designing flexible, multi-purpose rooms that allowed for different forms of activities makes the venue suitable for a broad range of activities.
- Due to cost savings, initial installation included non-universally accessible doors which required retrofit modifications. The retrofit modifications were important to increase accessibility of the space for all users.
Research shows there are numerous benefits to being an active part of a community including opportunities for support, connection, learning, and personal fulfilment. Community centres work at the heart of communities, contributing to improvements in local development and life-long learning.
Kalamunda Community Learning Centre Inc. (KCLC), was the main user of the original Kalamunda Community Centre, a re-purposed golf club, which contained asbestos and had significant accessibility issues and space limitations. Other regular users of the centre included Kalamunda Girl Guides, Born to Sing, Man Kind Project, camera clubs and art groups.
In 2013, KCLC met with the City of Kalamunda to discuss what they would need from a facility to operate most effectively. With demand for activities, programs and spaces increasing, a forecast population growth and an increasing number of users aged over 55, the need to improve the facilities and increase capacity at the Community Centre was evident.
In January 2014 a feasibility study of the existing site was undertaken with support of a Lotterywest grant. This study focussed on understanding user group needs, design options, and costs associated with building a new facility.
Based on the study, in 2016 a concept plan was presented to the City of Kalamunda to redevelop the existing site and build a new, purpose built Kalamunda Community Centre. The plan aligned with the National Strategy for Ageing Australia, the State Government's approach to Age-friendly Communities and the City of Kalamunda's Strategic Plan. It was subsequently endorsed by Council and a motion to include budget for design as part of the 2016-17 budget was passed.
In July 2017, the City established the Kalamunda Community Centre Reference Group to ensure the final plans met stakeholder expectations. The reference group comprised 12 members including local residents and direct neighbours, Friends of Jorgensen Park, KCLC representatives, Elected Council Members and City staff representatives. The reference group endorsed the design of the new building in March 2019.
The final design included multi-purpose internal spaces of approximately 1,000sqm, outdoor spaces, car-parking, and pathways linking the Centre to the closest bus stop. Ensuring the Centre was accessible was a key consideration, with final designs from architect Bollig Design Group exceeding the current statutory requirements for disability access.
Ensuring ongoing community engagement and consultation was important, and continued with the naming of the facility. From March to May 2020, residents were invited to suggest names for the Centre, with some 80 responses received. Six shortlisted names were put to a community vote, with Kalamunda Community Centre the overwhelming winner.
The Kalamunda Community Centre was officially opened in March 2021. The building includes seven activity rooms, two halls, and a kitchen, with each room named after a Noongar colour to represent the Wagyl. Room signage displays design elements by local artist Aurora Abraham, and timber and stone design textures give the building a natural feel, paying tribute to its surrounds in Jorgensen Park. The Kalamunda Community Centre also showcases local creative talent, with artist Leanne Bray creating several pieces featured across the facility.
Changes to doors (to automating entry doors) and upgrades to accessible toilets were done retrospectively, after peer review of the building. These modifications were done in direct consultation with the City of Kalamunda’s Disability and Carers Advisory Committee, to increase the accessibility of the building for all users.
Impacts and outcomes
The opening of the of the Kalamunda Community Centre in March 2021 has seen KCLC, the primary user, grow significantly. As of May 2023, KCLC had a membership of 805 people, offering 84 classes to the community each week.
Between July 2022 and May 2023, Kalamunda Community Centre saw:
1,200Room bookings through Space-to-Co booking system
31,000People attending events, workshops and gatherings
These sessions, alongside the on-site creche for use by families, parents and carers with young children, have enabled the community to come together, connect, and skill-build with like-minded community members. This supports the work of City of Kalamunda to reduce social isolation, improve mental wellbeing, and strengthen connectivity.
“The new Kalamunda Community Centre has made a huge difference to the Kalamunda Community Learning Centre in that it has brought us all together. In past years we became so large that some of the classes had to be held off-site in the Jack Healy Centre, the Town Hall, Lesmurdie Hall and St Barnabas therefore the affected members did not feel part of KCLC.”
Kalamunda Community Learning Centre
Countless community organisations and individuals have been able to utilise the new centre for a variety of events and workshops, including men’s mental health talks, acapella vocal workshops, the Community Arts Network symposium, volunteer luncheons, fundraisers and quiz nights, NAIDOC week programs, parties, awards nights and business networking meetings.
The high-quality facilities, capacity and venue capabilities has strengthened the City of Kalamunda’s ability to attract events to the area. This, in turn, is expected to aid the City’s efforts to boost tourism, economic growth, and showcase arts and cultural activity with community and visitors alike. City of Kalamunda, Kalamunda Chamber of Commerce and Hawaiians Forrestfield hosted the 2023 SEED Young Entrepreneurs Program in the facility.
“…It was the first time I'd been to the Kalamunda Community Centre and I was very impressed at the design and function rooms, each suitable for different size groups and activities. The two we used for the workshops were equipped with tables, chairs, smart TV for the PowerPoint slideshows and an area for tea/coffee. It had a nice peaceful atmosphere that well represented Kalamunda and its natural bush surroundings.”
Sarah, Country Sunshine Designs – Winner of Under 25s 2023 SEED Young Entrepreneurs Program
Long term advocacy
The City of Kalamunda’s work in advocating for and promoting the delivery of a purpose-built community centre started at a grassroots level more than a decade prior to project delivery. This long-term vision delivered best practice across all stages of the project.
A community reference group provided ongoing connection and insights
The Kalamunda Community Centre Reference Group was a vital component in the project’s successful delivery, with members helping the City to understand and stay across local issues and community concerns. The early and continuous community involvement from concept through construction has been one of the project’s most significant achievements.
Flexible design increased usability
To ensure the facility is inviting to all age groups and demographics now and in the future, the Kalamunda Community Centre was designed to offer multi-purpose areas delivering more than 80 classes of activity each week. Vertical partitions fold to the side to give added flexibility when expanding or contracting spaces, allowing different sized groups to be accommodated.
Working with KCLC as a keystone user ensured that since opening, the Kalamunda Community Centre had a high utilisation rate. Additionally, private bookings demonstrate the diverse range and capabilities of the venue to service the local and wider community.
“The new building has enhanced many of our classes in that the rooms fit the sizes of the classes and have all the modern facilities in them in the way of televisions, internet and WIFI. We especially appreciated the kitchen facilities which enable our classes to have morning and afternoon teas together. Something the old and very tired building did not have.”
Kalamunda Community Learning Centre
Plan for universal accessibility from the outset
Due to cost savings, initial installation included non-universally accessible doors on entry and at the toilets. This generated negative feedback from the community, which required retrofit modification around doors. These modifications were delayed by a 12-month holding period that restricted building modifications being made.
Plan for inclusion of additional equipment
Since opening to the public, additional AV technology has been added to the rooms to further enhance their usability for presentations and speaking events. Larger cooking equipment has also been installed in the kitchen due to usage frequency and needs of users.
- City of Kalamunda. Demographics and Statistics. 2021 [cited 15 March 2023]; Available from: https://www.kalamunda.wa.gov.au/our-city/about-kalamunda/demographics-statistics
- City of Kalamunda. Population Forecast. 2021. [cited 15 March 2023]; Available from: https://forecast.id.com.au/kalamunda/population-summary
Acknowledgement of Country
The Western Australian Community Impact Hub acknowledges and pays respect to the Traditional Owners of the land on which we are based, the Whadjuk people of the Noongar Nation and extends that respect to all the Traditional Owners and Elders of this country. We recognise the significant importance of their cultural heritage, values and beliefs and how these contribute to the positive health and wellbeing of the whole community.