Cato Square
Public Relations for City of Stonnington

Cato Square redevelopment

Converting Prahran’s Cato Street carpark into world class urban park

A world-class urban
park for 100k+ residents

The conversion of the Prahran’s Cato Street carpark into world class urban park is amongst the most ambitious projects undertaken by an inner Melbourne local government this century.

Icon was there to help ensure that the City of Stonnington connected with its key stakeholders around the launch of the project.

Cato Square

Located near the
corner of Chapel Street
and Commercial Road

As part of a greater initiative to provide residents with more ‘open space’ areas, City of Stonnington is redeveloping Prahran’s Cato Street car park into a ‘world-class urban park’. The project is located near the corner of Chapel Street and Commercial Road and will include a landmark new public urban and two-level underground car park.

Home to approximately 108,000 residents, Melbourne’s inner east Council, City of Stonnington covers an area of 25.62 square kilometres and includes suburbs; Prahran, Windsor, South Yarra, Toorak, Armadale, Malvern, Malvern East, Glen Iris and Kooyong.

Ensuring residents
were engaged and
consulted

While there is a recognised strong need for further ‘open space’ in the City of Stonnington the process of converting a major carpark into an urban park, has broad commercial and social implications for the Stonnington community.

Ensuring residents and traders felt engaged and consulted about the plan was a vital first step to building community excitement and good will about the project.

An additional challenge was to position Cato Square as a positive addition to the city’s public open space whilst ensuring that resident and trader feedback was heard and adhered to.

In delivering this campaign, it was essential to balance the needs of the residents and the wider community with the requirements from Council. As a result, each stage of the project aimed to engage and inform key stakeholders and allow them to effectively channel their feedback on the project to Council.

Brochure design

A three-level engagement
system to inform, address
and follow

Given the length and complexity of the project, Icon suggested a three-level system to provide clarity as well as meeting the needs and expectations of key stakeholders.

The tiers aimed to guide community consultation, engagement, and communications through three key engagement phases:

  • Project announcement

  • Presenting the design

  • Commencement of construction

Community engagement forums were held to inform stakeholders and address community concerns, along with the establishment of an information hub. Community members can visit the Information Hub located opposite Cato Square to learn about the project, have their questions answered and following progress on the redevelopment.

The main component of Icon’s community engagement and PR strategy was delivered through a community launch event held at the proposed Cato Square redevelopment site. The aim was to officially launch the Cato Square project to key stakeholders whilst providing valuable information about the project to the local community. The event included speeches from key spokespeople; City of Stonnington Mayor, Cr. Jami Klisaris and City of Stonnington CEO, Warren Roberts.

Consultation and engagement

To build a strong community foundation for Cato Square we planned and implemented a comprehensive program of community education and engagement. A staged program was prepared that included:

  • Facilitated ‘town hall’ meetings

  • Online forum and feedback facility (using Engagement HQ as our engagement backbone)

  • Online poll

  • Drop-in community engagement hub, staffed by professional engagement consultants

  • 1:1 consultation and information sessions with traders and trader representative groups

  • Final report and presentation to Council

You can follow the project's progression via the City of Stonnington website.