MIXED RESPONSE: Bundaberg's CBD. Mike Knott BUN221216CBD8

Do-nothing in CBD not an option, says project boss

THE diversity of community and trader opinions regarding the proposed CBD revitalisation was again evident at three consultation days organised by Bundaberg Regional Council last week.

Project manager Dwayne Honor said about 120 people, including a strong trader representation, had attended the consultation sessions.

"The sessions were very useful especially from the point of view of clarifying misconceptions people hold in regards to the project," Mr Honor said.

"There still many people who believe the project involves the creation of a mall. This is certainly not the case.

"The previously expressed concerns from traders that construction would impact the viability of their businesses was also raised again.

"Council has re-scoped the project to incorporate significant construction activity at night and with an understanding that shopfronts will be accessible during daylight trading hours.

"There is also a strong view that council needs to address off-street parking issues prior to commencing any redevelopment of the CBD. The funding and proposed project commencement date are other issues that need clarifying.

"Council has consistently said the project will not commence prior to 2020 and after funding has been secured."

This proposed 2020 timeline is premised on a number of factors including:

The consultation feedback is to be assessed and, where appropriate, added to the final design concept

The council needs to secure funding for the project with equal contributions from state and federal governments

Finalisation of an economic strategy in relation to the CBD precinct

Construction impacts will be managed in consultation with traders once project funding has been secured and a contractor has been engaged. The council expects to provide six months' notice to traders on construction start dates.

"The consultation days did produce feedback supporting the project with many people of the view that it was not an option for the Council to do nothing and that the region would benefit through its shopping heart being reinvigorated," Mr Honor said.

"Council needs to have this project shovel ready to secure funding and ensure the project is ready to commence."

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