Arts, Culture and Wellbeing Precinct
A future for the former Bundaberg Fire Station
In 2021, Bridges purchased the former Bundaberg and Rural Fire Station buildings in Bundaberg’s CBD. Opening in 1958, this historically significant 2024sqm site in the CBD will become the home of Bridges and transformed into an Arts, Cultural and Wellbeing precinct. The nucleus of this is supported by a strong evidence base of arts and creativity playing a substantive role in our wellbeing. When the relocation of Queensland Fire and Emergency services from its central location was first raised following the 2013 flood event, former Bundaberg arts production company Creative Regions identified this site’s potential to host a range of opportunities for the community including performance rehearsal and exhibition space, hosting workshops and studio space for artist working groups, as well as public art and artist in residence programs. Bridges and Creative Regions developed a relationship that shared a vision for the old fire station. Building on that potential Bridges sees the opportunity to further perpetuate the findings of Mind-Life and open the doors to everyone in the community to focus on wellbeing without associated stigma.
Due to changes in government funding priorities, it will be a minimum of two years before funding is secured and the work is done to make a functional space for Bridges to host these programs. Bridges has been readying for the site redevelopment, investing in architectural concepts, gaining Council approval for a change of use of the site and scoping the cost of works.
In the interim, Bridges has focused on collecting stories of the fire station through a Regional Arts Development Fund supported oral history project. Preserving and creating stories and honouring the place is an important driver for the redevelopment of this building. Existing buildings occupied by Bridges with additional workshop space are available as the testing ground leading into the redeveloped space over the next two years.
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