The open, visible, public gardens running down the centre of Sturt Street are a safe haven for Ballarat mayor Cr Samantha McIntosh.
But she feels vulnerable in Coffee Palace Lane which snakes down from Ballarat Railway Station to Mair Street and the CBD.
Ms McIntosh yesterday added her “pins” to the Right to the Night Ballarat map which is gathering information on where people feel safe and unsafe around the city.
”I ask the community to get on the app, pop in pins to show where they feel safe and don’t feel safe, and provide information that will help us deliver a much safer community,” she said.
Since the Ballarat map went live last month, more than 30 people have added 80 locations using their mobile phones and iPads.
Parts of Nolan, Little Bridge, Hickerman, Curtis and Field Streets, as well as Scott Parade have been identified as areas causing insecurity, while parts of Lydiard Street North and South, Mair Street, Chancery Lane, Sturt Street, Camp Street and Doveton Street have been shown to be safe spaces for residents and visitors.
While targeted toward making women feel safe, Ms McIntosh said the project welcomed feedback from all members of the community.
The project will run until the end of May, with the goal to have at least 250 sites identified.
“There is no better feedback than from those impacted most by the design of public spaces within the CBD. These are the people who benefit from a well-designed space and are the most affected when safety has not been a key consideration during the design phase,” Ms McIntosh said.
“We know, and our statistics tell us, that women feel very uncomfortable and not safe in certain places. This is our opportunity to hear from our community to hear the places you feel safe and don’t feel safe in.”
Council will use the information submitted in their planning process.
“The CBD is at the forefront of our current council planning – it’s an area we haven’t put much focus on in the past decade or more,” Ms McIntosh said.
“This is an opportunity while planning to make sure we take in to consideration not just the creative and heritage strategies but the safety and security of our community. We want our community to use our streets and make them vibrant, and that happens when people feel safe and use them.
“Looking at the feedback so far, Ballarat women have told us how well-lit areas increase their sense of feeling safe, while lack of security and dark pathways do not. This feedback is vital in ensuring we can properly inform designers and developers responsible for strategic investment in community public infrastructure and public realm assets.”
The online community consultation continues through until May, but during April residents can meet with City of Ballarat officers about the project at Ballarat Aquatic and Lifestyle Centre, the Bridge Mall Farmers Market and Ballarat Railway Station, or take part in urban guided walks on April 17, 30 or May 10 and 26, with program members to talk about safety.