When will the project start, how is it being funded and what's proposed to occur?
Currently there is limited funding to undertake this project, being assigned from existing budget lines within the Place making and Open Spaces budgets. For this reason, it is anticipated that streetscape upgrades will be a gradual process, likely beginning in mid 2020. Council’s intent is to begin with trees (being a relatively cheap intervention with high return on investment), then, over time, to progressively address pedestrian focused lighting, then seating, general place making, signage, and so forth. We are not considering any major hardscape changes within the scope of this project within the foreseeable future, because of cost and the fact that the pavement through most of the precinct is in good condition. Trees take time to grow so installing them first will enable future improvements to align with their function better, for example, placement of new seating underneath canopy shade as opposed to placement in the sun.
Why we're asking and what role will I need to play?
Achieving substantial changes in the appearance, functionality and economic performance of Yeppoon’s main street is not something that Council can accomplish alone. Success on this front will require sustained active engagement by both Council and the owners and tenants of James Street. Some community groups may also play a role. In this respect, in addition to your opinions and guidance, Council is seeking your support in pursuing a collaborative approach to achieving the goals of this project. This will include a commitment to upgrade some areas of the street under private control such as shopfronts or providing spaces for street art.
How will this affect the operations of my business
The proposed improvements will occur away from shop entrances and the lateral movement patterns of pedestrians, so will not directly impact customer access into local businesses or movements along the footpath. Nevertheless Implementation will obviously involve some level of disruption. We want to ensure that this is mitigated to the greatest degree possible and intend to coordinate closely with property owners and tenants to ensure this is achieved. Council is extremely cognisant of the need to NOT adversely affect the operations of businesses. The primary area of disturbance will be to footpaths as garden beds are extended and trees, lights and other elements are installed. Most of the impacted area will be closest to the street so out of the way of pedestrian activity. There will obviously be visual signs of change but for the most part works will not affect the general capacity of pedestrians to move through the precinct.
Will this disrupt traffic on the street?
Possibly, as equipment and materials are brought into the precinct. There may be some segregation of spaces for safety reasons as elements are installed. Actual traffic flow should not be impacted except for deliveries which will be concentrated at low traffic times (early morning) to minimise disruption. It is possible that some parking spaces may be temporarily occupied. Some spaces may also be considered for permanent removal to accommodate new plantings. You will be consulted on this matter if a recommendation to this effect emerges from the design process.
How long will this take?
This particular project will likely take several years. Precise timing is dependent on future funding, which at this point in time is impossible to determine. Council will endeavour to accelerate delivery by seeking funding from State and Federal programs, but there is no guarantee if and when such funding will be provided. The intent is that funded stages are delivered as quickly and disruption-free as possible.