IF Peter Hulin had his way Warrnambool would be an Australian showcase on urban renewal, with a strong European style and emphasis on pedestrians.
The Warrnambool City councillor has at least 5000 photographs of designs in European cities taken during his holiday tours and an endless list of ideas gleaned from discussions with overseas city leaders.
He’s also picked the brains of Canadian planning expert Dr Larry Frank when he was in Melbourne last month for the Smart Urban Futures conference.
Cr Hulin is keen to share his passion as a member of the Liebig Street renewal streetscape committee which is helping stir community discussion on the issue.
“The possibilities for our city are endless,” he said.
“We need to challenge ourselves and say we can do better.
“If we want our city to die we do nothing, but if we want our city to prosper and for people to be proud of it we have to have substantial changes.
“I have an enormous amount of information from other parts of the world to show what could be done.”
Cr Hulin claimed if the right approaches were taken there was opportunity for millions of dollars of government money to make Warrnambool a model display city.
“It’s about improving health and lifestyle by getting people out of their cars,” he said.
“You build community links if you are out of your car — it improves mental health and general wellbeing.
“The number-one priority is to work out the parking issue.”
Cr Hulin said CBD renewal should have started years ago.
“Now we don’t have a choice because our streets are falling apart before our eyes,” he said.
“We really need to hear what the community has to say.”
The city council has been allocated $90,000 by the state government to pull together community ideas and a blueprint for renewing the main street between Raglan Parade and Koroit Street, aiming to start ground works early next year.
People can share their ideas at a shopfront office in the former ANZ Bank building in Liebig Street from May 12 to 30 and attend discussion workshops on May 20 in the Uniting Church hall followed by a presentation of a mock-up plan on May 21.
The Standard is also running an online discussion forum.