Port Fairy streetscape plan goes ahead

PLANS for a revitalised Port Fairy town centre have taken another step forward after Moyne Shire approved designs to upgrade Bank and Sackville streets. 

Meeting in Mortlake on Tuesday night, councillors voted on the future vision for the historical precinct hot on the heels of the town’s international LivCom liveability award. 

Moyne Shire has budgeted $300,000 for the works and is banking on a $500,000 state government application in January.

Council was forced to revise plans last month after a design, which included trees along Sackville Street prompted an angry backlash from businesses worried about the loss of car parks and tree litter.

A pedestrian crossing outside Rocksalt and Belfast Bakery has also been scrapped. 

But it was the inclusion of banner poles on the village green that dominated debate when Port Fairy resident and historical society member Marten Syme raised his objections, causing a split between councillors. 

Mr Syme, who has previously spent 10 years on the town’s streetscape committee, questioned how the banner flags would fit in with the heritage of the town.

“The town really does have a particular heritage character that the insertion of trees and banners will fundamentally undermine,” Mr Syme said. 

“The banners, I believe, add nothing. They’re commonly found in towns that have very little to offer.” 

Cr Colin Ryan moved an unsuccessful motion to exclude the banners from the concept.

“Banner poles were not there in the 1880s,” he told the chamber.

Cr Jill Parker said the banners would be better placed on the highway to advertise events. 

The amended motion was voted down and Cr Mick Wolfe moved the original motion. 

It was passed with the support of five councillors.

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