THE heart of the city is set to beat more strongly thanks to a wave of ideas from Warrnambool residents.
A revamped image of Liebig Street is starting to take shape with the initial designs created from community feedback on display.
More than 120 people attended Warrnambool City Council’s workshops this week to discuss the Liebig Street overhaul, as Outlines Landscape Architecture presented verbal and sketched concept art in response to ideas put forward.
Now displayed at the former ANZ site (141 Liebig Street), many of the proposed concepts aim to improve the CBD pedestrian experience, including more accessible crossings, lower 30km/h speed limits and footpaths widened by 1.5 metres.
Other major ideas put forward include reducing the four lanes of traffic to two, creating space for a bike path, replacing plane trees with a more suitable type, increased lighting to improve safety and vacant shops made available for “young start-ups”.
Councillor Peter Hulin said the new-look Liebig Street would maintain Warrnambool’s country community charm while bringing the streetscape “into this century”.
“It’s quite obvious the city is in deep need of revitalisation and it’s something that probably should have been done 20 years ago,” Cr Hulin said.
“It’s imperative we bring it up to a higher standard.”
Cr Hulin said not everyone would agree on all aspects of the renovations, but the final result would weigh all sides of community input.
“There has to be a certain amount of leadership over everything done after the consultation with the community.
“It’s not only about business — it’s about health and interaction.
“You can’t interact when you’re sitting in a car. Some want to drive right into a shop, others want a safer biking experience, so everyone has to compromise a bit to make it right for everyone.”
Liebig Streetscape Plan Working Group member and Western District Employment Access CEO Mick White said there had been a particular focus on making the street safer and more user-friendly.
“I’ve been quite enthusiastic with the way they’ve talked about having the streets lit up for safety and improving access to pedestrians,” Mr White said.
“One of the issues are the steps from footpaths to the road and the crossing.
“At the moment the car rules and pedestrians give way to cars, which can make it hard for people with disability and older people, even mums with prams, to cross the street.”
Plan feedback can be made at 141 Liebig Street for at least another week before the committee begins arranging more detailed designs, according to city renewal manager Tanya Egan.
“The designers have put together some concepts that show our way of thinking so far, but now we need to hear from the people,” she said.
“It’s all about changing the face of the street.
“We’re looking into the future and we need to have Liebig Street as a place to meet, as a main street where people from all walks of life can come and experience a multitude of services.”