CBD gets a lift
The main street of Tumut is poised for a facelift, but the lead-time required to get pavers to town meant the project couldn’t start early and take full advantage of Covid-19 limits on shopping and milling around.
Snowy Valleys Council CEO Matthew Hyde said the project was originally planned for May and required some lead-time to get the right materials, which are currently on the road from Western Australia.
“We are trying to maximise the time when the main street isn’t being used as much,” said Mr Hyde.
“We did agree with the Chamber of Commerce that after Easter would be the better time, but once we were aware of the Covid restrictions, we put this project on a fast track and, unfortunately, due to the pavers being the main product needed, we haven’t been able to start on the street yet.”
Mr Hyde said there had been some community concerns that the pavers might not last the test of time, so Council put additional research into finding durable pavers for the project.
The CBD upgrades are being funded with $1.76 million worth of amalgamation money and will encompass Wynyard St from the intersection with Capper St to the intersection with Fitzroy St.
The CBD upgrade wasn’t directly one of the suggestions brought forward for the amalgamation money through the original community comment process; however, SVC said it generally fits within a proposed CBD amenity improvement project. The idea which as originally chosen was to develop the carpark behind the Connection Medical Centre in Wynyard St, including footings for a future upgrade to a double-story parking garage. Approval was sought and obtained for the change.
“There was an original project that was about accessibility and amenity in the CBD,” said Mr Hyde.
“The majority of that was carparking and alleyway improvement.”
Mr Hyde said the project stalled when Council wasn’t able to “get land in private ownership into public ownership.”
“We had a timeframe and we had a budget, and with our initial negotiations on that land acquisition we weren’t able to meet those timeframes.”
Since Council wasn’t able to acquire the land, councillors instead decided last April to pivot the project into a slightly different CBD upgrade, which would still meet the approved project brief and be able to be completed within the timeframe and budgets tied to the amalgamation money.
The new streetscape upgrades will come in a phased approach, with phase one about to get underway: re-paving pedestrian areas and doing repairs to kerbs and gutters, with work on trees in the main street.
“Some of those trees haven’t grown very well and others have grown very well, but we’ve got issues around trying to manage them in an area so they don’t disrupt the footpath,” said Mr Hyde.
Later phases will include upgrades to Russell St, similar to what’s being done in Wynyard St. There are also plans to add street furniture and planters, but those future stages aren’t currently funded.
Mr Hyde said the Tumut CBD upgrades were brought forward because the government was looking for “shovel-ready” projects. Additional project have been planned for the Batlow and Adelong CBDs, and the council is seeking funding for those projects, along with the future stages of the Tumut CBD.
The CBD funding was slated for projects which would provide an economic stimulus for the town and increase employment.
“What we’d like to see is our main street renewed and beautiful and attracting people into the area,” said Mr Hyde. “We’ve got a beautiful town. It is just starting to age a little bit, so it’ll be nice to give it a refresh.
“People who visit comment on what a spectacular main street we’ve got. We don’t have many vacant shops at all, it is quite an active area, which is great.”
He added that the council conducted a review of water and sewer infrastructure in the main street, to ensure the pavers won’t have to be torn up again within the next few years. He said the infrastructure was found to be in sound condition.