Working for Whitehorse

Whitehorse News - July 2020

Council’s Head of Major Projects, Siobhan Belmore, is an expert in her field and is in charge of multiple large-scale projects, including one coming to fruition in spring, and another just about to begin.

Siobhan joined Council two years ago after working with an international project management consultancy firm overseeing building construction and fitout projects within the commercial and education sectors across Victoria.

She is now in charge of building the fabulous Nunawading Community Hub project, set to open to user groups and the public in spring this year. Her role takes skill, patience, knowledge of the construction process and a keen eye when it comes to financial spreadsheets.

“I am charged with ensuring the project is suitably resourced, the design intent is being achieved and the construction is on time and within budget,” Siobhan explains.

The $31 million Nunawading Hub has been eight years in the making and,  like any big capital works project, takes “forward planning, continual oversight and sensational staff” to succeed, Siobhan says.

The hub is set to become an architectural showpiece in Whitehorse, with distinctive saw-tooth roofing and incorporating the historic Nunawading Primary School building.

More than 20 community groups and Council’s Meals on Wheels service will operate from the Hub, which has been designed as a 5-Star Green Star rating by the Green Building Council of Australia to minimise its environmental impact.

Ecologically-sustainable design features included are solar renewable energy for lighting and hot water heating, rainwater harvesting for toilet flushing, with tank capacity of approximately 100,000 litres, natural light optimisation, double-glazing in areas of direct sunlight, low energy lighting with LED fittings throughout the building and use of natural and durable materials such as timbers and concrete with recycled content.

“Council’s vision is to transform the former school site into a vibrant community hub; a place where people of all ages and backgrounds feel welcome and can come together to embrace new opportunities for learning, social interaction and getting active,” Siobhan says.

She says there is no single thing she enjoys most about her role with Council, but “seeing a project realised and come in to fruition with the community enjoying the benefit is a big part” of the reward.

“In addition to mentoring and supporting my team and seeing my team individually progress in their careers, I also envisage this hub will continually bring people together to create and maintain new and existing friendships.”

Siobhan has taken an added responsibility to the community this year as the COVID-19 pandemic has hit. 

Being on the frontline of a substantial building project means she has also had to look out for the continued employment of those working on the project and for Council’s financial outlay in unpredictable times.
 
Another project in the making is the stunning new performing arts centre that will replace the outdated Whitehorse Centre. Site works for this project will begin this year. Siobhan will direct its growth and ensure its success after years of preparation by Council.

“It is important to invest in public works during times of crisis,” she says.

“It results in job creation, stimulation of the economy and it provides hope in times of uncertainty.”