Late shift slated to $1.7m CBD project

A plan for carparking improvements and new public toilets at the rear of the Wynyard Hotel is set to be abandoned by the council today, with the council likely to shift $1.7m to a new CBD project.

Snowy Valleys Council is poised to abandon a $1.7 million project aimed at improving carparking in Tumut’s CBD amid problems securing the land and a concern the work won’t be finished before a funding deadline arrives at the end of the year.

The council will instead today (Thursday) consider re-allocating the money to a general streetscape improvement around Tumut’s Wynyard and Russell Streets.

The money is part of $10m handed to the council as a merger sweetener by the state government that’s being spent on 12 infrastructure projects across the area.

Those dozen projects had undergone an extensive consultation and assessment process, involving external consultants, numerous public meetings and an assessment panel involving the Office of Local Government and the local MP.

The planned CBD carparking endeavour was to be the largest project centred in Tumut, with funding slated to buy land behind the Wynyard Hotel, to demolish some buildings and develop carparking, public toilets, lighting and landscaping, while improving accessibility.

A report to be considered by the council suggests the council has not been able to come to an agreement with landholders to acquire the required property.

The two pockets of land, which adjoin the rear of the Wynard Hotel as well as the Connection Centre and Montreal Theatre, includes existing carparking, as well as some older buildings.

There are two parcels involved in negotiations, and the council said it hasn’t been able to come to an agreed price, despite negotiations going on since Christmas.

That saw the council move to compulsory acquisition of the two lots, but the council has since discovered it’s muffed the required resolution to carry out the process.

“Council received legal opinion from the Office of Local Government advising that the existing resolution is insufficient for acquisition purposes,” a report to the council to be considered today states.

“To continue with the purchase of the land, council would need to enact a new resolution.

“If council were to recommence this process the acquisition and development would not occur prior to December 31, 2019; which falls outside the funding agreement. Given the amount of time in negotiation, it is also estimated that even if private negotiation were to succeed, the construction timelines would compromise the funding timeframes.”

That’s forced the council to head in a different direction, and it’s proposed now drawing up new plans, to upgrade sections of the streetscape in Wynyard Street (between Capper and Fitzroy) and Russell Street (from Wynyard Street to the entrance to the Coles carpark).

The Fuller Street carpark will also get an upgrade, and rather than build new toilets, the council will instead upgrade signage pointing to existing toilet facilities.

The project would include additional parallel parking areas in the CBD, adding to the number of parking spaces.

The council has outlined a plan that would see the project completed by the December 31 funding deadline.

It might be able to get a head-start by dusting off the former Tumut Council’s Bridge to Ridge document, which set out detailed plans for an upgrade of the streetscape in Tumut between the Old Town Bridge and the Tumut Lookout.

Completed five years ago by a consultant, the Bridge to Ridge plan has been sitting on the shelf since.

The council will consider the new CBD plans today.