The location of C-Square has long held a place in the heart of Nambour, harking back to the days of the old town hall in 1913, re-emerging as Centenary Square in the year 1991, and as C-Square in 2015. ‘Old meets new’ is a theme that keeps recurring with Nambour and C-Square, and both the town and C-Square complex are seeing new life come forth.
Following the closure of the sugar mill in 2003, it was time for a phase of renewal in Nambour. Thinking, planning, action, and funding started to come from the local community – businesses and volunteers, the Council, state and federal government, and private businesses. The Nambour Activation Plan was developed in 2015, and we are now seeing revitalisation in five key areas in Nambour – with C-Square being one of them – capitalising on the town’s assets, inspiration, and potential to help create public spaces that are useful and healthy. In this process, called placemaking, the needs and desires of the community are the defining features.
The Nambour Activation Plan is well underway, with a meeting held on 28 May drawing participants from Council, the Nambour Alliance, business owners, and community groups. Placemaker Andrew Hammonds, engaged by both Council and C-Square, led the group through the next steps in the process – defining and promoting a brand for Nambour; revisiting activities already underway, like the reactivation of the courtyard outside the Council Chambers and the use of street trees; and drawing focus to areas to still be touched by this initiative. C-Square is already flagged as a key arts and entertainment precinct for Nambour, and this was confirmed at the meeting.
Over the last 18 months, C-Square has also engaged the help of some creative and energetic locals in placemaking projects – Ardleigh Cleveland, Holly Walker, Wallea Coolihawk, and most recently, Lisa Fry. Ardleigh, well known in Nambour's creative circles, helped to start the placemaking efforts at C-Square and added both colour and comfort to the courtyard through the wonderful artworks commissioned from Bart Worthington and the very special ArtGrass furniture. Holly helped by steering NambaNow, our monthly music and market event in collaboration with BalconyTV. And Wallea Coolihawk lent her strengths in building community, through more events and bringing the community garden to life.
Lisa has now joined the C-Square team as our placemaker, adding her own experience to the initiatives begun by Ardleigh, Holly, and Wallea. Lisa is no stranger to Nambour, having moved here as a child. And, after living away for a long period to study and work, Lisa has returned to Nambour and joined the Board of the Nambour Alliance, helping implement what she has seen in other places.
‘There is great opportunity here at C-Square,’ Lisa says. ‘There are businesses just waiting to be brought from idea to reality, and C-Square holds the potential to help that happen. And those business hold the potential to help make C-Square a dynamic, cultural, and commercial centre for Nambour.’
Lisa is passionate about helping businesses succeed, and recently attended the Edgeware Programme graduation, meeting creative entrepreneurs who have been learning how to help their businesses become viable and successful.
To allow this to happen, the owners of the buildings have to be willing, and so does the community. C-Square owner, Tracy Martin, said ‘We have to be open to letting people try things, and the tenants have to have an appetite for what the community wants to happen. It’s ultimately them who define what the place becomes,’ Tracy said. ‘C-Square presented itself as a dream opportunity for this type of renewal – a big, empty, and interesting space, and a community with enthusiasm to fill it. We are open to letting the transformation emerge,’ Tracy said. ‘There are so many creative people around the Nambour area. It’s so exciting seeing who will come and what will evolve in this space.’
Changes so far have included the free WiFi, courtyard events, and the community garden. And so much more lies ahead! If you have ideas for a business, service, or event at C-Square, we would love to hear from you! You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.