RECENT listening posts held throughout the region to garner comment on Bega Valley Shire Council’s landscape master plans drew a large community response.
A project team from BVSC’s consultant landscape architect, Spiire Australia, visited Bermagui, Merimbula, Eden and Bega last week to discuss draft design and vision options for the CBDs in these towns.
Andrew Woodley, BVSC group manager of planning and environment, said the design options were draft reports made to “generate community discussion” (BDN 28/2).
“The more feedback that is provided – the better the resulting plans will be,” he said.
Simon Eakin from Spiire said there was indeed plenty of discussion.
“At Bermagui on the first day there were people already lining up at 10.30am for the 11am start and we were still there an hour after the planned 6pm finishing time,” he said.
Mr Eakin said Bermagui presented a unique case because many people were interested in the proposed Woolworths development.
“That was outside our scope and people understood that once we explained it, but its impact on the landscape is something on the community’s mind.”
Mr Eakin said residents in Bermagui were very concerned about mobility access on Lamont St.
“That was a big one, and it’s something looked at in the design options, but it was good to get so much feedback on it.
“The steps and the slope of Lamont are a real issue for the elderly and the mobility impaired.
“However, people were also keen to say that whatever changes occur they didn’t want the beautiful views from Lamont St impeded.”
Merimbula also saw a steady stream of people eager to discuss the draft, with parking and disability access foremost on many minds.
“People in Merimbula want to capture the opportunity have a town heart and to improve the foreshore, so the design option to block Beach St to traffic drew a lot of comment.”
Residents of Eden were concerned about ways to improve seating in the town and the issue of the steel shade structures locals refer to disparagingly as “clothes lines”.
“The maintenance of the wisteria on these structures has been a bit of a nightmare and people would like to see some sort of alternative shade structure,” he said.
The final day of listening posts in Bega’s Ayres Walkway also drew many interested residents.
“Disability parking was a real concern in Bega, and also people had very mixed feelings about street trees with many people thinking they haven’t performed very well.
“Ways to improve the journey from the parking spaces on Church St to Carp St with shade, seating and better footpaths were brought up.
“It’s also interesting that we held the listening post in Ayres Walkway because there was a lot of interest in how we utilise that to link Littleton Gardens and Carp St in a more effective way,” he said.
The council and Spiire are still seeking community feedback.
The Central Business District Landscape Master Plans can be viewed on Spiire’s website and the online survey is open until March 21.