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Discussion in 'North & Far North QLD' started by Ktee, Mar 3, 2013.

  1. Ktee

    Ktee Administrator

    TWO of the most bustling but downtrodden streets in Cairns will be given a $30-million makeover if the council gets support from residents for new plans to revive the city's flat-lining heart.The Weekend Post can today unveil Cairns Regional Council's designs for Lake and Shields streets which will be presented
    The concept was praised by the business owners and decision-makers who got a glimpse yesterday, but the council wants the public's seal of approval before a single sod is turned.
    The overhaul involves replacing City Place with a shared zone for pedestrians and slow-moving carson Lake St, and building a series of green,shady public gathering spaces along Shields St.
    Mayor Bob Manning said years of indecision over City Place and its surrounds needed to end.
    "We've got to get out and get this work done quickly, not sit back and create another 12 or 24 month cycle," Cr Manning said.
    "But we want to get it right. I want people to have their say."
    He said the council would put money towards the upgrades in the next budget, but cash would also be sought from the State and Federal governments once the plans were finalised after public consultation.
    CBD traders who saw the initial plans yesterday say they're willing to endure a disruptive construction period for the benefits of a major makeover.
    "You have to grin and bear it and look to the long-term benefits," Lake St pharmacy owner Nick Loukas said.
    But he is concerned people will be swayed by a vocal lobby group that wants City Place to remain intact.
    "We don't want the minority to be drowning out the vast majority of the community who will support these plans when they see them," he said.
    Spokesman for the Save City Place lobby group Geoff Holland yesterday said components of the council's design had merit, but the consultation process was flawed because there are no illustrations to show what City Place could look like if it were to be retained and improved.
    "They have only developed one (option) so we feel this community consultation process is skewed from the beginning," Mr Holland said.
    The plans would increase the number of carparks in the CBD and also add 33 per cent more public gathering space. The estimated $30-million project would need to be staged and a start date would depend on funding.
    Cairns Chamber of Commerce CEO Deb Hancock agreed emotion over City Place should not block progress in the long-running effort to beautify the city centre.
    "We all agree that something needs to be done in the CBD, so let's ensure we unite as a community without delay and put our best foot forward in time for the G20," she said.
    Cairns MP Gavin King said the first stage of the project likely to be the Lake St component needed to be completed before the G20 conference in 2014. The State Government has pledged $5 million to the works.
    "I know the council will leverage the upcoming election and target both sides of politics to secure some federal funding," he said. Community engagement will be undertaken via a shopfront display in City Place, the Your Say online forum, independently-operated phone poll, business and community forums and stakeholder meetings. The shopfront will be staffed by members of the council's project team from 11am to 2pm Monday to Thursday until March 28. To join the conversation visit http://yoursay.cairns.qld.gov.au. Comments can be posted under an anonymous screen name. To view the concept designs visit cairns.qld.gov.au
     

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