Wellington Local News:
Raymond Street Reconnected
Raymond Street Sale reopens to traffic
By Wellington Shire Council - 7th February 2002 - Back to News
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Wellington Shire Council has decided to reopen Raymond Street in Sale to traffic. Also included in the project will be the related small section of Cunninghame Street on the eastern side of Raymond Street. The decision was made by the Council at a Special Meeting on Tuesday 5 February 2002 which was convened solely to consider the issue.
Wellington Shire Council Mayor, Councillor Keith Boyd said that the decision to reopen Raymond Street came at the end of a long process of planning, investigation and community consultation. He said that opening Raymond Street and Cunninghame Street to the east responds to concerns expressed to Councillors in relation to the impact of the closure on business, tourism and community convenience. "It is the best overall solution to the problem in that it restores circulation and will no longer frustrate tourists and visitors but retains the best aspects of a pedestrian friendly town centre" he said.
Councillor Boyd said that, although for the last two years Council had stated in its Corporate Plan its intention to reopen Raymond Street, the community had not had the opportunity to fully comment on the actual proposal. He said that with a proposed layout now prepared and budget provision available over this and the next two years, public submissions were sought. "Although the Local Government Act required Council to advertise for only 14 days, because of the importance of this project and the Christmas holiday period, more than twice this time was provided to ensure that people had ample opportunity to state their views".
Councillor Boyd said that a Special Committee of the whole of the Council was established to consider the submissions received and to hear people who wished to speak to their submission. He said that in total 27 submissions were received from across the Shire with seven people taking the opportunity to address Council in support of their submission. The Committee, which met on Monday 4 February 2002 also received verbal presentations from a further nine people in the gallery. One of the letters received contained 126 signatures.
On Tuesday 5 February 2002 a Special Council meeting was held to consider the matter. Councillor Boyd said that the Council was delighted that a gallery of approximately 60 people attended the meeting and provided lively input to assist Councilís consideration. He said that a further 12 people accepted Councilís invitation to address the meeting both in support of and against the proposal.
Councillor Boyd said that Council and Councillors had carefully considered all submissions made on the matter. He said that they could be grouped into perhaps four main areas as follows:
- Safety for pedestrians and particularly disabled persons. Councillor Boyd said that this has been a major priority for the Council and has been addressed carefully in the planning to ensure that traffic speeds would be kept to a low level and that vehicle and pedestrian surfaces have contrasting colours to avoid uncertainty. In addition Councillor Boyd said Council decided to place restrictions on right hand turning movements into and out of Cunninghame Street and will consult access groups with a view to addressing any concerns they might have. We consider the Cunninghame Street Mall itself will also become a safer place because of increased activity in the area.
- Enjoyment and convenience. Councillor Boyd said that by consigning the road pavement to the east side of the Clocktower there will be minimum impact on the present mall area with the Clocktower remaining accessible to pedestrians. Raymond Street will be far more convenient for vehicles and shoppers and will retain its conviviality.
- Visitors. Several speakers and submissions had highlighted the deterrent nature of the present arrangements for visitors, Councillor Boyd said. The confusion for tourists and visitors to the area causes frustration and most do not return. He said that by opening Raymond Street it will become far more attractive for visitors, strengthening businesses in the area and adding to employment opportunities.
- Clocktower. Concerns were expressed as to the safety of the Clocktower. Councillor Boyd said the Clocktower will remain, will be accessible to pedestrians and will be protected by bollards along the road edge. Councillor Boyd said that the Clocktower is a major feature of the town and should remain in its present location.
Councillor Boyd went on to say that, although having been on Councilís priority programme for a long time, the opening of Raymond Street is only one element in the process of review and enhancement of the Sale town centre presently under investigation. He said that many other elements of the town are being considered by Councilís consultants and Council is anxious to seek the communityís input into any elements covered by the Urban Design Framework (UDF) study presently being finalised.
Councillor Boyd said that these elements include the urban structure of the town centre, the streetscapes, car parking and the highway. He said that a number of people had expressed concern about the safety and "liveability" of the Cunninghame Street Mall and although many people have already made comment to Councilís consultants on this issue, Council will be keen to obtain more input once specific proposals are available.
Councillor Boyd said one of the major elements of the Urban Design Framework will be to consider tourism aspects of the town centre including its relationship with the Port of Sale and Lake Guthridge. It will also address appropriate planning scheme amendments and capital works needed and is expected to provide a firm foundation from which Council can formulate its future programme of works in the area and approach government for grants to enhance the area.
Councillor Boyd said that a comprehensive round of exhibitions, briefings and consultation meetings will again provide the opportunity for the community to express its view over the coming months.
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