Client Testimonials

Client Testimonials

As testimony to the high quality of our work and commitment to best practice, Vital Places has received positive appraisal from the majority of our clients.

These range from councils, to state government departments, private sector companies and educational institutions.

To see what our clients have said about us, please click on the links below.

Local Government: South-East Queensland

Local Government: Regional Queensland

State Government

Private Sector

Education

 

Local Government SEQ

Brisbane City CouncilĀ  30+ public infrastructure catalyst projects involving urban design, master planning and complex land use and transport integration.

“An enviable reputation!”

“Robert Prestipino has provided urban design services at a senior level on more than thirty projects for City Planning Branch. These projects have ranged from urban design studies, master plans, complex land use and transport integration initiatives and the management of the delivering of key capital projects.

Throughout all of these projects Robert has consistently demonstrated that he is a person of the highest professional ability and personal integrity. Robert has proven himself to be an outstanding strategic thinker, a skilled team leader and a creative, yet practical designer.

Robert is extremely expert at formulating and delivering community consultation programs. He has an enviable reputation for being able to facilitate the resolution of tough issues even in the most difficult of consultation forums. Most notable among his many strengths is the ability to build strong community ownership of project outcomes through a sound and reasoned process of design investigation and analysis.

The success of a large number of Brisbane City Council’s Suburban Centre Improvement Projects is due to Robert’s commitment to achieving a superior design result on every project and his capacity to see projects through to a successful conclusion within time, cost and quality parameters.

Robert is one of the most gifted professionals it has ever been my pleasure to work with. I have absolutely no reservation in recommending Robert to anyone seeking the services of a talented and experienced designer to work on projects of the most demanding nature.”

James Coutts, Principal Program Officer – Local Planning and Design, Brisbane City Council

Brisbane City Council – Holland Park Suburban Centre

“Able to find solutions to the myriad of concerns”

I have had the pleasure of working with Robert in his role as Project Manager for both the Mt Gravatt and more recently the Holland Park Suburban Central Improvement Program (SCIP).

Robert has approached this sometimes difficult and challenging program in a thoroughly professional manner. His ability to balance the interests of the local community, business owners, schools, the Brisbane City Council and the Reference Group that was formed at the outset of this project was outstanding.

Robert was able to find solutions to the myriad of concerns that the local community raised whilst liasing with all of the above mentioned groups. This enabled outcomes to be achieved for the benefit of all whilst meeting strict Budget controls and timeframes.

I had the pleasure of being involved with Robert on the Mt Gravatt SCIP a number of years ago and have admired and respected Robert’s attention to detail and skills when dealing with many situations.

Kerry Rea, Councillor for Holland Park, Brisbane City Council

Brisbane City Council – Oxley Suburban Centre

“Engenders trust and aids participation”

“I have worked with Robert on the Oxley and Moorooka Suburban Centre Improvement Projects in my ward of Moorooka.

Robert has been an important part of the success of both these projects. As the facilitator of the community Reference Groups for both projects he has maintained a positive and cooperative approach to balancing very different priorities from the various stakeholders on these projects in an inclusive and conciliatory way.

His technical work has always been very professional with innovations becoming a regular feature of these two projects based on Robert’s flexibility and responsiveness to new ideas which emerge as part of the process.

Robert is a superb chair of meetings as he engenders trust and aids participation from all members. He also seems to get the best out of his staff throughout.

It has been a pleasure working with him on these two projects and I highly recommend his professional expertise to anyone considering his services.”

Mark Bailey, Councillor for Moorooka Ward, Brisbane City Council

Brisbane City Council – Brisbane Suburban Centre Improvement Program

“Expert knowledge and skills”

“Robert has provided leadership and facilitation for over twenty Suburban Centre Improvement Projects for Brisbane City Council.

The expert knowledge and skills developed from the successful delivery of these projects matches the high levels of enthusiasm that Robert has always applied to these complex and sometimes difficult revitalisation projects.

Any business centre that has the benefit of Robert’s expertise will be well placed to succeed in its revitalisation. I feel confident in recommending Robert in this regard.”

K O T Quinn Councillor for Dutton Park, Deputy Mayor Chairperson, Urban Planning Committee Brisbane City Council

Gold Coast City Council – Short Street Centre Improvement Project

“… A great asset to the project team”

“Robert was employed by the Gold Coast City Council to facilitate the production of a design for the Short Street Centre Improvement Project in Southport. Robert has considerable experience in facilitating this kind of streetscape design, which was invaluable in working with the community Reference Group. He has a unique ability to verbally paint a picture for the group to help them visualise various options, which helped them reach vital decisions, necessary for the project team to progress.

His knowledge and experience in “revitalisation” was a great asset to the project team as well as the community Reference Group.

Throughout the process, Robert was professional, courteous and diplomatic in his dealings with both community groups and Council officials. I enjoyed working with him and would happily do so again should the occasion arise.”

Patrick Duigan, Project Leader – Centre Improvement Program, Gold Coast City Council

Gold Coast City Council – Beenleigh Revitalisation Project

“Support for the project in the town is overwhelming”

“I felt that I had to write and congratulate you on the quality of the work that is being carried out in Beenleigh by Vital Places.

What has occurred both within Beenleigh and within the process of the management of the project itself has been impressive to say the least. The multi disciplinary and multi faceted approach that has been employed and the quality of the team members involved gives great confidence for the ultimate success of the revitalisation of the Beenleigh CBD.

Vital Places has already engendered a significant positiveness in Beenleigh from the work to date and indeed have achieved many early success. There is a wide acceptance of your methods and of your team and the support for the project in the town is overwhelming.

The revitalisation of the Beenleigh CBD and, as a consequence, the emergence of Beenleigh to achieve its rightful place as a true regional centre, is one of the most important current projects for this Council. I am greatly enthused by the involvement of Vital Places in that work because from what I have seen thus far, success is all but ensured.”

Paul Stevens, CEO, Gold Coast City Council

Bald Hills Suburban Centre

“All points of view were genuinely considered”

“Thank you for the important leadership role you played during the work on the Bald Hills ‘Suburban Centre Improvement Project’.

Your professional approach in setting up and working with the Reference Group made up of local residents and business people was very much appreciated. Your approach was both professional yet understanding. Obviously with this project and limited funds all of the requests of the Reference Group could not be met, but the way that you handled the meetings certainly ensured that all points of view were genuinely considered.

I have many good reports on the project and thank you and your team for the very vital role you played in working with the community so effectively and making the project the success it is”

Carol Cashman Councillor for Brakenridge Brisbane City Council

Corinda Suburban Centre

“best shopping strip”

“Congratulations on the Corinda SCIP that won the Brisbane City Council sponsored Best Shopping Strip in the South West News Business Achievers Awards last Friday evening.

People in Corinda are very proud of their new SCIP and I commend you all again for the work that you undertook to achieve this outcome.

Businesses have reported that they are doing the best they have in a decade.”

Felicity Farmer Councillor for Jamboree Brisbane City Council

Morningside Suburban Centre

“developed on time, on budget”

“As the local councillor for the Morningside Suburban Centre Improvement Project, I worked closely with Robert and his team overseeing the consultation and design process with traders and community members.

During the course of this project, Robert was required to co-ordinate the production of a final plan to upgrade the Morningside Suburban Centre. He invariably performed his duties with a very high level of skill and professionalism. He demonstrated the capacity to analyse issues thoroughly, covering all angles and produced sound advice to both myself and the community/business reference group.

Robert’s genuine interest and enthusiasm for the project, and his communication skills, also served him well.

As a project supervisor he dealt comfortably and competently with both the business and community representatives and ensured the project was delivered on time and on budget.”

Sharon Humphreys Councillor for Morningside Brisbane City Council

Mt Gravatt Central

“unique balance”

“I worked with Robert on the Mt Gravatt Central Shopping Centre Project over the period of almost two years. The project involved extensive community consultation, detailed design work and required constant “fine tuning” over the construction period. Throughout the project Robert accepted each of these tasks and responsibilities in a very professional manner. He was always very approachable and obliging with members of the public and displayed a very clear and detailed understanding of all aspects of the project.

In short, I believe that Robert demonstrated a unique balance of being able to work with people in a truly consultative style combined with very thorough and detailed technical and planning expertise.”

Kerry Rea Councillor for Holland Park Brisbane City Council

Biota Street Suburban Centre

“turnover is increasing”

“Just a few lines to thank you personally for the good work you carried out on the Suburban Centre Improvement Project (SCIPs) at Biota Street, Inala in the Richlands West. It has been well received by an appreciative local community and as a result businesses who operate there are commenting that their turnover is increasing and their future looks a lot more certain. In fact there is a new coffee shop going in as I write.

A similar Darra project is still in reference group stage and is progressing well thanks to you and the team.

I am sure those local people who had the opportunity to experience participating in both the Reference Groups under your stewardship were very grateful for your willing help and guidance which resulted in a wonderful outcome at Biota Street and I am confident a like project finalisation at Darra.”

Les Bryant Richlands Ward Councillor

Darra Suburban Centre

“many positive comments”

“Just a few words to keep you abreast of the time that has elapsed since the SCIP’s project at Darra. It is now nearly 12 months since the very successful opening of our project and things are looking really good.

The landscaping and lawn areas have established well and are now developing into a very pleasing sight. I have received many positive comments about the finished product from local and strangers alike.

A successful Darra Street Festival was celebrated about 6 weeks ago with many in the community at Darra getting involved in the organisation, those people carrying on the initiative post Community Reference Group which you managed.

The experience and learning curve that you and your group led them through at the Reference Group meetings stood them in good stead for the organisation and management of the Festival.

The Darra community has embraced the concept, business is involved in the ongoing work to upgrade buildings and further enhance the precinct.”

Les Bryant Richlands Ward Councillor Brisbane City Council

Sunnybank Shopping Centre

“very professional work”

“I write to thank you for the very professional work you carry out in relation to the Sunnybank Shopping Centre improvement project at the intersection of McCullough Streets and Mains Road at Sunnybank.

Since the work has been completed, I have received many positive comments from the local community and from local businesses, about the improvements.

The results achieved are testament to your professional skills.

Thank you again for your great work.”

Gail MacPherson Councillor for Runcorn Brisbane City Council

Moorooka Suburban Centre

“creative solutions to difficult problems”

“I have known Robert Prestipino for a period of four years through his work with Brisbane City Council’s Urban Design Unit and the Suburban Centre Improvements Projects (SCIPs). In that time I had a lot to do with Robert on the Moorooka SCIP and to a lesser extent on the Corinda SCIP.

I have found Robert to have been an excellent officer with a professional and positive approach to both his technical work and his liaison with public and reference groups. He is reliable, punctual and is able to deliver creative solutions to difficult problems. I have no hesitation in recommending him for any role which draws on his formidable array of skills”

Councillor Mark Bailey Moorooka Ward

Local Government Regional QLD

Our Town Our Future: Ingham Revitalisation Strategy

“…has transformed our Council”

“The passion, belief and honesty Vital Places has brought to this challenge has transformed our Council. For the first time, we not only own a vision for the future of our Shire but we now have the tools to deliver it.”

Hinchinbrook Mayor, Cr. Giuseppantonio (‘Pino’) Giandomenico

Our Town Our Future: Ingham Revitalisation Strategy

“…a blueprint to grow new jobs”

“Vital Places was engaged by Council to establish a revitalisation strategy for Ingham. I can honestly say that what was first envisaged as a street beautification project materialised under Robert?s professional guidance to be a blueprint to grow new jobs for our community while protecting our lifestyle here in Ingham.

We are a relatively small rural community and through Robert?s work of engaging our Shire residents we successfully secured large public support for our revitalisation strategy.

The strategy has resulted in Council securing State Government funding of $6million a feat which many larger communities are very envious and we are using his professional advice to assist Council in securing matching funds from the Federal Government.

Robert is a very innovative thinker with great ability to work with groups of people and motivate them to think positively and explore the possibilities. His work with us have been of the highest professional standard and delivered on time and within budget.”

Robert Clark, CEO, Hinchinbrook Shire Council

Our Town Our Future: Ingham Revitalisation Strategy

“helping us set the momentum”

“Vital Places has played a pivotal role in helping us set the momentum for a strategy that will turn our Town and Shire around, as well as deliver an inspirational case study for other communities.”

Cr. Sherry Kaurila, Hinchinbrook Shire Council

Highfields Town Centre & Identity Project

“…a strategic thinker that stays focused on outcomes”

“Robert understands the difficult challenges facing the sustainability of Towns and many of our smaller communities. He is a strategic thinker that stays focused on outcomes. Robert?s ability to listen and creatively respond to local issues makes his advice invaluable for those who want to make a difference. He is especially good at helping a community identify the things that are important and how to move forward into the future.

I would strongly recommend that anyone who wants to find ways to achieve long term improvements for the future of their local communities should have a chat to Robert.”

Cr. Bill Cahill, Crows Nest Shire

Burdekin Shire Council – Ayr & Home Hill CBD Revitalisation Strategy Stage One

“We are seeing a positive turnaround”

“I write to thank you for the work you have carried out for Burdekin Shire Council in developing Stage One of the Revitalisation Programme for the Ayr and Home Hill Central Business Districts.

Throughout the period of time you worked on developing Stage One, I found members of your team to be thoroughly professional and very expert in the work they carried out. Your plans and developed themes were inspirational for the Burdekin district and the overall final report on Stage One was what provided us with the ammunition to be able to secure a maximum level of funding from the State Government to assist in Stage Two.

I am quite sure that the work you carried out in our community engendered a great deal of debate and encouraged a great deal of positive thought and discussion in local business. Even before the Council has proceeded through to Stage Two we are seeing a positive turnaround as far as private business is concerned in our area, and this is due in no small way to the work that your company did in highlighting the need for us to turn the business area around in our community.

I take this opportunity to wish you and your company all the very best in future work that you may carry out.”

John Woods, Mayor, Burdekin Shire Council

Toowoomba City Council – CBD Revitalisation

“Communication skills were exceptional”

“Toowoomba City Council has recently undertaken the mammoth task of revitalising the main street – Ruthven Street. It is a staged project that will cost in excess of 6 million dollars. A diverse group of stakeholders is involved including councillors, council staff, property owners, traders, public transport operators and the wider community.

A public meeting was held seeking ideas and suggestions. Two facilitators were contracted for this meeting and to also facilitate an all day workshop the following day. Mr Robert Prestipino was one of the facilitators. This was indeed a major task as many of those in the two groups were hostile and negative.

Robert’s communication skills were exceptional. He spoke simply and concisely, explaining aspects the previously were quite foreign to the lay people present. With his polite and positive manner, he was able to diffuse any possible heated arguments.

Toowoomba City Council was extremely happy with the work done by Robert Prestipino. As chairperson of the CBD Steering Committee, I was thrilled with the outcome and I am full of praise for the knowledge and expertise displayed by Robert. He was the ideal man for the job.

Toowoomba City is looking forward to the time when Ruthven Street is finished. However, I feel the end result depends very much on the beginning made. This had to be done with thought and sensitivity to all stakeholders – Robert Prestipino certainly achieved this for us.”

Sue Englart Councillor Toowoomba City Council Chairperson CBD Steering Committee

State Government

Western Australia Department for Planning and Infrastructure – Maddington Kenwick Sustainable Community Partnership

“Provided clarity and focus”

“In my capacity as Director of Revitalisation and Urban Design Projects, I had the pleasure of working with Robert on the Maddington Kenwick Community Profile and Values Report.

Robert and his team were able to quickly engage with key local stakeholders within Government and the community to identify key issues for the sustainable development of the Maddington Kenwick communities. The information gathered by them provided clarity and focus to the task and was well received as insightful and useful to key Government stakeholders.

Furthermore, Robert was passionate and articulate in ascertaining the profiles and values of the Maddington Kenwick communities, ensuring that decisions would be mindful of the desires and visions of the local stakeholders.

The process and strategies Robert and his team applied to the Community Profile and Values Report for the Maddington Kenwick Partnership Project has provided a valuable foundation for the future success of this best practice initiative.

Robert’s contribution has helped us start on the right foot and I would recommend Robert and his team to any organisation that seeks to succeed in the difficult and challenging area of community engagement and local revitalisation.”

Brian Curtis, Director, Revitalisation and Urban Design Projects, Department for Planning and Infrastructure, Government of Western Australia

Private Sector

Tamborine Mountain – Gallery Walk review

“Consensus result”

“In 1999 the Beaudesert Shire Council appointed consultants to undertake a review of Gallery Walk in conjunction with the Task Force and stakeholders, with the objective of developing a master plan for the future redevelopment of the precinct. Mr Robert Prestipino was the leader of this process, which was successfully concluded during 2000.

Gallery Walk is a significant tourist destination on Tamborine Mountain in South-East Queensland., and compromises about 30 tourist related businesses on a section of Long Road, Eagle Heights. It has developed on an adhoc basis over about 15 years and the provision of infrastructure has lagged behind the growth of visitor numbers to the precinct. This has lead to major problems in relation to parking, traffic flow, pedestrian amenity and streetscaping.

In working with Robert on this project I found his professional experience and skills were a key to the successful development of the Master Plan, and he was a significant contributor to drawing together stakeholders with diverse interests and ideas, to enable a consensus result to be obtained. It was a pleasure working with him and I would recommend him to anyone considering carrying out a similar project”

Peter Cornell Member Gallery Walk Task Force

Ayr & Home Hill CBD Revitalisation Strategy Stage One

“always willing to listen to concerns of stakeholders”

” Robert was engaged by Burdekin Shire Council to act as Project Consultant for Stage 1 of the Ayr and Home Hill CBD Revitalisation Project.

Robert attended a number of meetings of the Ayr Chamber of Commerce Inc. to communicate the current status of Stage 1 of the Project. Members were always very receptive to his addresses and extremely interested in his role for the Project. Whilst many of the issues surrounding Stage 1 of the Project were very complex, Robert spoke to members in a very easy to understand language, and welcomed questions from the floor to ensure his message was understood.

Throughout his term as Consultant for the project, Robert displayed professionalism and it was obvious by his performance that he knew what he was talking about. His knowledge and skill as a consultant was evident from the successful completion of Stage 1 of the Ayr and Home Hill CBD Revitalisation Project.

As a facilitator for the community consultations associated with the project, Robert’s team building abilities came to the fore. Since the entire concept of the project is about “change”, many stakeholders were not receptive to the idea. Robert managed to convince many of the stakeholders that change was necessary in order to turn the economy of the district around. His team building skills in this initially non-receptive climate, were tested and it was sometimes difficult for him to convince stakeholders that the community had to work together to achieve success.

Whilst Robert was always willing to listen to concerns of stakeholders, his positive attitude and his confidence in the potential success of the project, proved to be an invaluable tool in changing attitudes, and encouraging stakeholders to believe that the district could be revitalised.

The Ayr Chamber of Commerce congratulates Robert Prestipino on his success in completing Stage 1 of the Ayr and Home Hill CBD Revitalisation Project.”

Dianne Pennisi, Secretary, Ayr Chamber of Commerce

Carina Suburban Centre

“it seamed this project was lost”

“When Council refused my re-zoning application several years ago it seemed this project was lost. We now have succeeded in our original objective and all three tenancies will greatly benefit with increased customer traffic. Again thank you for the ideas and assistance in bringing this about.”

John Watt Property Owner Carina Suburban Centre

Carina Suburban Centre

“understanding of business needs”

“The relationship between business and Council can sometimes be strained, however, in this instance Robert has shown an understanding of business needs and is able to have our concerns heard and met”

Ross Vasta Property Owner Carina Suburban Centre

Carina Suburban Centre

“excellent communication skills”

“Robert’s excellent communication skills were evident in all of the meetings involving local traders and I have to say that I am delighted with the way resources have been allocated to improve our shopping centre.”

Michael Doohan Carina Day & Night Pharmacy Carina Suburban Centre

Mt Gravatt Central

“high level understanding”

“I found Robert to be very Professional in all aspects of the Mt Gravatt Central Suburban Centre Improvement Project.

Robert demonstrated a high level understanding of the processes involved with SCIP design including an ability to communicate effectively with the general public.

Mt Gravatt Central has benefited from the Maim Street Program and the Suburban Centre Improvement Project economically, environmentally and socially.

As a local resident and business owner I have seen a huge increase in demand for property and values.

The numbers of people visiting Mt Gravatt Central has increased and as a result tenancy vacancies are low”

Mark Williams Property Owner/ Business Owner & Resident Mt Gravatt Central

Mt Gravatt Central

“what was needed and asked for”

“The Mt Gravatt Central Shopping Strip on Logan Road was a severely declining shopping and business strip. The leadership of Robert and his team allowed an integration of what was needed and asked for to be prioritised and to become part of the project.

The reality has been a big ‘win win’ for business and the community.

The increase in trade by some operators has been from 5% to 50%.”

Michael Sunderland Local Real Estate Agent & Community Reference Group Member Mt Gravatt Central

Pine Rivers ? Suburban Centre Improvement

“Passionately communicated”

“I am writing to express my appreciation for the presentation and site tour provided by Robert Prestipino to the Pine Rivers Arts Advisory Committee concerning the Suburban Centre Improvement Project. Robert provided an excellent overview of the program and very pertinent description of several case studies.

The committee members were impressed by his technical expertise and his commitment to public consultation and achieving good outcomes, which he clearly and passionately communicated both in his presentation and during the site tour…”

Guy Gibson Lend Lease Development Manager

Education

Our Town Our Future

“beautifully put together”

“Thank you so much for presenting to the class.? Your project was beautifully put together and inspiring, capturing many concepts that we have talked about with students in this and other courses.”

Claudia Baldwin Lecturer: University of Sunshine Coast, Queensland

Sunnybank Suburban Centre

“quite an inspiration”

“Looking at the projects in Sunnybank and Mount Gravatt was quite an inspiration and I’ll be using the photographs with my students and inviting them to model the process in their own projects. My own interest is in community empowerment and participation and there is much that the students could learn from the working methods of the Urban Design Team.”

Glen Coutts Senior Lecturer: Art & Design University of Strathclyde Glasgow

University Presentation

“connection with reality”

“…thank you very much for talking to the students in the Planning Processes II class last semester. They got a lot out of having the concepts of the planning process brought into connection with reality through examples you were able to give. Your discussion and examples were useful – they were even used in their responses to questions in the end of year assessment.”

John Minnery Senior Lecture, Urban and Regional Planning Queensland University of Technology Brisbane