A TRIAL run of opening the Maude Street Mall to traffic could be on the cards following the passing of a motion outlining several options to revitalise the mall at a recent council meeting.
The motion was passed in response to a consultation process carried out to determine the views of the local community, which saw 638 responses collected overall. Of the responses provided to council, 51 percent supported the introduction of activities similar to those presented by Spiire in December last year, 48 percent of respondents did not support their introduction and the remaining 1 percent of participants did not answer the question. Some respondents to the consultation process provided alternative changes to the mall to improve its amenity and usability. A total of 55.87 percent suggested opening the mall to traffic and making improvements to parking.
As part of the motion carried, Greater Shepparton City Council will consider the allocation of $250,000 in its 2017/2018 budget to obtain conceptual designs, estimates and funding models of the three options for the Maude Street Mall as a long term vision to activate and revitalise the area as per the Commercial Activity Centre Strategy. The options include the reintroduction of two-way traffic from Fryers to High Street, the development of additional car parking facilities with connecting one-way access from High and/or Fryers Streets exiting at Stewart Street and the retention of the mall as a pedestrianised public open space and introduction of urban design measures to increase amenity and usability of the precinct.
Greater Shepparton City Council Mayor, Cr Dinny Adem said, “As part of the motion, council has decided to dedicate $500,000 over two years to activate the mall, which will include short term measures like things in the Spiire plan.
“While that’s happening, we are hoping to also provide an extra $250,000 to come up with conceptual designs for the three options.
“This has been a controversial issue for the better part of 10 years now. You could continue on with consultations and surveys, but if you wait to know everything, you’ll never do anything.
“This recent survey shows just how balanced the views are out there, but we have to work towards doing something.
“The option of opening the mall is definitely in the motion.
“If the mall is to be opened in two to three years’ time, then we will have made steps towards that.
“Hopefully, activating it over two years might change some views, as they might see that these activation measures are working and the mall won’t be opened.
“Discussion to a degree is finished and we are acting now.”