AMENDED concept plans to refresh Camperdown’s main street were given the tick of approval on Tuesday night — but not without criticism.
Local resident Beverly McArthur urged councillors to dump the project completely and accused them of being out of touch with the community.
“By investing $500,000 of rate and taxpayer money in a non-essential project, you are showing you are out of touch with the tough financial state of people within the shire,” she said during the meeting’s open forum. “You have increased rates beyond inflation, businesses are closing and there are dangerous roads that need fixing.
“Please don’t spend $500,000 and rush this through to attract government funding. Do what you should be doing — fix the roads, footpaths and rubbish.”
Cr Jo Beard responded by saying the role of local government had become much larger and at times she wished councillors could just stick to roads, footpaths and rubbish. Other community members also voiced their concerns about the plan, calling for the proposed path down the middle of the avenue to be removed completely and for the town square and war memorial areas to stay as is.
Councillors voted on a motion to authorise preparation of a detailed design based on the concept two plan, but with modifications which include reinstating 15 car parking spaces and removing a splitter island proposed for south of the war memorial.
The main splitter island down Manifold Street will also be made using concrete, rather than bluestone, to allow vehicles to drive over if required.
Ornamental gardens in Little Manifold Street were also deleted from the plan and the town’s war memorial will remain as is, but with a central access ramp added.
Cr Ruth Gstrein moved an altered motion calling for the central path down the avenue be deleted completely.
“The main community concerns were the central path, loss of parking spaces and the rosemary hedge around the war memorial,” Cr Gstrein said.
“I think tonight’s recommendation, along with the amendment, responds to those concerns. The avenue is our streetscape and we are proud of it.
“There is no need for a path and I think removal or realignment of bins and flowerbeds will also go a long way to enhancing it further.
“I think overall we will end up with a refreshed and inviting streetscape.
“As we’ve seen in Terang, $500,000 is the cost of projects like this these days.”
Cr Gstrein said building owners also needed to do their part and were called on to make improvements where necessary.