Council unveil riverfront plans

COMMUNITY members will have until May 9 to comment on Queanbeyan City Council's draft concept plans for stage two of the CBD upgrades.

The plans, which focus on the area around Collett Street and Queen Elizabeth Park, were put on public exhibition today.

Queanbeyan Mayor Tim Overall said the goal was to enhance the river precinct and create a space to connect residential areas to the shopping hub.

"It must be said that in its present state, Queen Elizabeth Park is not an attractive place for residents or visitors to frequent and we want to change that perception," he said.

"The ideas in the draft plans will certainly achieve that and I look forward to see what the community's thoughts are on the plans."

The plans were developed by consultants Oxigen using input provided by local business and community members during August and September 2013.

The consultants have suggested car parking in Queen Elizabeth Park and along Collett Street should be removed to improve pedestrian movements. Council anticipates 50 car park spaces will be lost.

However, Cr Overall said there was an "abundance of car parking within easy walking distance of the CBD".

"To achieve what needs to be achieved here, it proved to be too difficult to retain the current parking that is in Queen Elizabeth Park itself," Cr Overall said.

"We're very conscious that we do have under utilised car parks in the immediate vicinity for when there's an overflow."

In addition to the removal of the car park spaces, the plans also propose the realignment of Collett Street.

Some other features of the draft plans include: a pedestrian bridge over the Queanbeyan River; installation of gardens and a wet play area in Queen Elizabeth Park; platypus viewing deck near the Suspension Bridge and improved cycle/walkways along the river bank.

The council has allocated $4.8 million over the next three years for stage two of the CBD upgrades including areas outlined in the draft concept plans. The pedestrian bridge is estimated to cost a further $1.5 - $2 million.

Stage two of the CBD upgrade follows the $4.45 million renovation of the Crawford Street Lifestyle Precinct in 2011-12. At the time council received criticism from some business owners as the street was shut down for construction.

Council has already anticipated that some traffic disruption would occur in Collett St but access in and out of the Riverside Plaza carpark will be maintained.

It is expected that work in and around Queen Elizabeth Park would not have significant effect on traffic flow.

Council believes a final design will be developed by December with work expected to start in April - May 2015. Construction is estimated to take at least eight months.

Queanbeyan City Council will be holding a number of information sessions on this project.

To find out more or make a submission visit www.qcc.nsw.gov.au.

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