WORK to transform the northern end of Victoria Square/Tarntanyangga into a people-focused space commenced this week, with Adelaide Lord Mayor Stephen Yarwood removing the first sod of dirt to mark the beginning of Stage 1 of the redevelopment.
"This is a historic day for the city and State. The upgrade of Victoria Square/Tarntanyangga will provide a world-class place for people to come together and connect, fitting of a city's primary public square," Cr Yarwood said.
"Council's investment will attract people to the Square, increase activity and provide an event space for regular, programmed events that celebrate the best of our state."
The first stage of the upgrade will create a large event space in the northern end of the Square for up to 5,000 people, with tiered paving and a raised performance area. It will also include a paved promenade with an 'urban lounge' and extensive seating area, covered by a shade structure with fabric awnings and enclosed by vertical vines.
A new water play fountain will be installed at the northern tip, adjacent to the event plaza. New lawn, garden beds and 100 new semi-mature trees will also be planted and innovative lighting will be installed across the event plaza to make it safer and more usable in the evenings.
Modern public toilets will be installed, along with 2 drinking fountains, 16 bicycle racks and infrastructure to support pop-up cafes and events. All of the current statues and monuments will remain in the Square. The state heritage listed Three Rivers Fountain will be refurbished and relocated to the southern end in early 2014.
"There has been extensive consultation with the public and stakeholders, including the Kaurna community, throughout the development of the Masterplan. We will still need to deliver the full project in stages but Stage 1 will mean we will start to see some tangible outcomes that will give the centre of the city the attention it deserves," Cr Yarwood said.
Stage 1 also includes the full upgrade of the central roadway so that it can be transformed into a temporary plaza for events. Space will be made for a dedicated bus lane and there will be a pedestrian path and bicycle lanes in the northern and southern side of the Square. The flag poles will remain in the centre of the Square.
Construction in the northern end of the Square is expected to be completed by December 2013 for use by the Tour Down Under in January 2014.