BUSINESS IN THE MALL AND SURROUNDS
I would just like to follow up on a letter by Dennis Oyston in The Adviser on August 3, which put into words exactly the way I feel as far as retail in and around the mall.
When the weather was good, where were the ‘markets’? Queens Gardens, Victoria Park Lake, in fact – almost anywhere except the mall. When the Visitor Information Centre burnt down alongside the railway line on the Goulburn Valley Highway, where did they relocate? Nixon Street. Ideal opportunities to reinvigorate the mall area. I certainly agree that re-opening the mall to traffic is a totally retrograde step for all the reasons Mr Oyston mentioned.
If the council is really serious about making this area viable and vibrant, why are they contemplating a $10M art gallery rather than another multi-storey car park for the centre? Fairly soon we shall be looking at a new courthouse which, in turn, will be looking for more car parking spaces. It was good to read that Harris Scarfe was extending its trading hours on Sundays – well done! In this day and age, the 9am to 5pm Monday to Fri and 9am to 4pm Saturdays is way off beam. The very time people want to shop is when they have the time – evenings and weekends. Let’s see these hamburger stands, flower sellers, second hand stalls, market produce, art and craft stalls, drink/food vans start using the mall to its max.
Can you imagine more cars in the centre if you re-open Maude Street Mall? Backward thinking at its best!
COUNCIL’S TOILET POLICY
There have been complaints about the lack of public toilets in the Vaughan Central and the Greater Shepparton area both online and in letters to the editor.
Council seems to show little concern in ratepayer’s and visitor’s complaints. They have had chances to relocate the Exeloo into the Vaughan Street area, but there are those in the council that appear to squash any attempt.
Council has demolished the brick toilets in Queens Gardens (at the cost of over $20,000) under the pretext of “being surplus to requirements” yet bring in Portaloos whenever there have events there.
I question if their reason was the truth, and ask why they put the Exeloo there in the first place when it could have been located in Vaughan Street area.
Even after a professional consultation report (costly to ratepayers) they completely ignored the same recommendation to relocate the Exeloo into the CBD.
Yet again the Vaughan Street area misses out. I’m told council will consider public toilets in the proposed $5.5M relocation of the bus terminus further down from where it’s located now, if they can get a grant.
They built new toilets at the showgrounds and at Deakin Reserve, which are only used whenever there are events on at those venues. Looks like toilets in the Vaughan Street area which would be used seven days a week are low priority.
In 2015 I sent in a submission to changing places to have a public toilet with full size change tables and hoist to meet the needs of people with severe and profound disabilities for Shepparton.
The council received the grant in 2015 for this toilet, and on the January 22, 2016 I received an email from changing places asking for a testimonial on how the toilet had improved my quality of life.
I was unable to supply the testimonial as the council ‘sat’ on this grant for over 12 months and the toilet was never built. I decided to ask council where the toilet was or what had happened to the grant and got the following reply on the June 19, 2016. “The grant will be utilised in next financial year at the Fraser Street Mall toilets, which will have a major refit including an adult changing places facility.”
The mall area already has toilets, why wasn’t Vaughan Street considered.
Appears the council can find $14M to help with the cost of the new Shepparton Art Museum, but can’t find money for much needed toilets in Vaughan Central area.
We urgently need more public toilets around the CBD and at sports grounds that are accessible for residents and visitors, not gated and locked toilets that are rapidly decaying and neglected because of council’s toilet policy and those on the council who seem to block progress for them.