The fake grass in one of Warrnambool's recently overhauled laneways has come under fire but a senior director has defended its use.
Cr Angie Paspaliaris brought the issue into the spotlight at last week's council meeting when asking about a recent survey of businesses in relation to potential further upgrades to the CBD's laneways and the Civic Green.
She voiced concerns about the use of fake grass in the recently refurbished Timor Street laneway.
"There has been some clear community backlash on one component of that refurbishment being the fake grass in the laneway not being appropriate," she said.
"I do know that the department just moved on this laneway upgrade or update which I'm a bit disappointed in in some ways because I think that there's obviously some response to a component of that.
"What's going to happen with that fake grass when it deteriorates and how is it going to hold up with Warrnambool's elements, both warm weather and cold weather?
"How does this impact the consultative process that's currently on with the Civic Green and those sorts of things?
"Is that going to be a full process start to finish, and is it going to be transparent and actually receptive to what the community feedback is?"
The council's city growth director Andrew Paton said the synthetic turf was of high quality and the feedback had been positive.
"We've activated those laneways off the back of clear policy around the City Centre Structure Plan which very much validates enhancing the amenity of laneways to make them a more appealing place to walk and connect and indeed linger," he said.
Mr Paton said he was happy to get some engineering advice around the life cycle of the synthetic turf.
"The feedback I've received to date hasn't been a backlash, but has be positive so I'd be interested to hear any feedback councillors may have received to inform the next steps," he said.
The council last month made an application for up to $500,000 in funding, and put forward some ideas about outdoor dining areas in laneways, street corners and the Civic Green purely as a way of generating discussion about what the funding could be used for.
He said surveys were sent to 350 food and hospitality businesses and they received 80 responses - a 25 per cent response rate "which is pretty good".
Mr Paton said the responses so far had reinforced the principle that there should be more infrastructure and enhancement of amenities in those areas.
"We will continue to look at those survey response and comply with the guidelines of the grant program to ensure the money is expended and committed in a value for money way," he said.
Cr Ben Blain said one thing he found really disappointing with the laneway upgrades was the lack of community consultation.
He said it was something council pushed forward with.
"I really do hope that in future council will be consulting with surrounding businesses on any sort of infrastructure projects that they will be making on those kind of things," he said.
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