Workers fenced off Little Malop St Mall’s public toilet on Wednesday as council began a series of works to “reinvigorate” the troubled area.
The toilet was set for removal this week after council last month committed $315,000 on works and activities to improve the infamous mall.
Brownbill ward councillor Eddy Kontelj welcomed the first step in measures to “reinvigorate” the mall.
“The change starts today,” he said.
“It’s important that we’re taking this action and introducing positive changes before Christmas, so that people can enjoy the space during the festive season.”
The “activations” would help the mall become more appealing and make people feel safer spending time there, Cr Kontelj said.
“We want it to be a welcoming place where people of all ages can meet and socialise with friends and family or spend time as individuals.”
The council commitment came after a TV segment shone the national spotlight on the long-notorious trouble hotspot earlier this year.
Council plans to open up the mall for a performance stage hosting live events in a bid to increase visitors.
The project would redevelop the mall into three main areas: live entertainment and events, socialising and eating and a children’s play area, according to City Hall.
The spending would fund new seating, planter boxes, a water feature, play equipment and 3D art on walls and pavements, a City Hall spokesperson said.
City Hall would increase maintenance in the area and commission an independent assessment of the improvements, they said.
The mall is set for Christmas-themed activities in November and December including a school Christmas trees display.
The plans would inform a longer-term masterplan next year, recently-elected Geelong Mayor Stephanie Asher explained.
“While there is planning underway regarding the mall’s long-term future, the council has taken action to improve the space in the short-term,” she said.
“The removal of the public toilets is a positive step in creating a more appealing environment, with three distinct zones being established to encourage different groups of people to the area.
“With further capital works and a large program of activations to be in place before Christmas, we hope to see the mall start to become a more vibrant space that our community enjoys visiting.”
The program follows consultation with Victoria Police, community groups, traders and property owners.