Liebig Street redevelopment plans to bring new life

WIDER paved footpaths, a narrower roadway and a lower speed limit are key components of what would be one of the biggest revamps of Warrnambool’s Liebig Street for a century.

Looking south down Liebig Street from the Koroit Street roundabout.

Looking south down Liebig Street from the Koroit Street roundabout.

The design would signal a distinctive city-to-sea colour theme with new trees, smaller roundabouts, street art and more seating-dining spaces between Raglan Parade and Koroit Street.

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A draft of the bold revamp has been unveiled and will be available for public scrutiny for the next three weeks before fine-tuning and a city council decision next month.

The aim is to take a blueprint and business plan to the state government before the November election for funding which would at least match a $1 million city council commitment.

Traders were given an overview last night before the general public sessions start this morning in the former ANZ building at 141 Liebig Street. Feedback forms are available at the venue and on the council and The Standard websites until September 21.

The draft design comes after years of talk about reviving the tired-looking CBD and several weeks of in-depth community consultation in May to provide guidelines for a consultancy company engaged through a $90,000 state grant.

Looking south down Liebig Street from the Koroit Street roundabout.

Looking south down Liebig Street from the Koroit Street roundabout.

If plans are approved work could start before June and upon completion be followed by a second stage covering the southern section of the main street.

Finer details are yet to be decided, but The Standard gleaned yesterday that the speed limit could be halved to 20km/h and the controversial plane trees replaced with a smaller deciduous species.

“It’s been a much-loved and successful main street for years, but it needs new life,” said Damon Obst, a director of consultants Outlines Landscape Architecture.

“There are ways of lifting it to become more resilient and adaptable for the long-term future — it’s more than just a retail strip.

“Retailing can co-exist with the services industry and people can enjoy meeting and gathering in the street.”

Mr Obst said there was frustration from traders about lack of investment in the prime street. He said a commitment from council and government may trigger property owners to improve their premises. 

The draft plan shows the roadway lifted to the same height as the footpath, which will be reconstructed with paving blocks to be two metres wider than the existing asphalt paths.

Traffic flow will be narrowed from four lanes to two with bicycles on the same carriageway.

Fifteen car parks would be removed and the remaining 77 spaces made wider than existing bays, while loading zones would become multi-purpose short-term bays for taxis, disability passengers and shoppers. 

The taxi rank would probably be shifted to Lava Street close to Liebig Street. 

Footpaths will have more seating, dining spaces and lighting while sections will be allocated for outdoor entertainment and displays.

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