Council to upgrade inner CBD footpaths

Lismore City Council has allocated $1.5 million over the next four years to upgrade the inner CBD footpaths, with plans to upgrade one street every financial year.

Background
This project first began in May 2014, when Council convened a Citizens’ Jury to help provide direction for Council staff with future projects in the CBD. This jury was made up of 15 residents, 15 CBD representatives, a representative of the Lismore Chamber of Commerce, a Lismore Business Panel member, and selected Lismore City Councillors.

The group developed a priority ranking of various projects and initiatives for the CBD in coming years – upgraded footpaths, more toilets, more street cleaning, and revegetating the riverbank were priorities.

A CBD/Riverbank Feedback Group was then established after the Citizens’ Jury’s work was completed, to inform Council on how to keep local business owners and representatives up-to-date on how projects were progressing and to obtain feedback where necessary.

The CBD/Riverbank Feedback Group has recently been consulted on the way forward with this footpath upgrade and is supportive of our consultation process and the development of footpath options.

Why is Council doing this?
This project was identified as a priority by the Citizens’ Jury in 2014. Our footpaths are the first thing shoppers see as they walk to their shop of choice.

The existing footpaths in some areas within the CBD are more than 60 years old, and after many underground service alterations, surface treatments and re-treatments, it’s time to finally go be out with the old and in with the new.

So what will the new footpaths look like?
Council staff have presented a range of options to the CBD/Riverbank Feedback Group. All options had pros and cons, and the preferred option moving forward is a paver on concrete slab finish. The paver of first choice was to match in with the existing Magellan Street pavers, which will have the advantage of having a consistent footpath around the whole CBD. Other paver types will be considered and presented back to the CBD/Riverbank Feedback Group in the coming months for a final decision.

Will my shop be affected by the works?
In all likelihood, yes, but only to a limited extent. All shops in the inner block around the CBD will be affected at some point over the next four years. Please be assured that we will be working hard to find the solutions that will minimise disruptions to you. We will keep you informed of any known disruptions well before any scheduled works.

So when will work begin?
We need your feedback about this! Before each street is started, our Communications Officer Philip Tsourlinis will walk the affected street and visit your business for a one-on-one meet and greet with you as the business owner. We will ask you to complete a very simple survey and ascertain the best timing for the works and discuss any specific details that you may want to clarify.

What can be done to minimise any affects to my business?
Staff will be working closely with the City Centre Manager Jason Mumford to arrange mid-construction promotions to ensure shoppers know that businesses are open. When Council staff come to see you, please feel free to make any suggestions that may help limit disruptions during construction.

Which street is first and what are the timeframes?
Keen Street will be completed first within this financial year (2016/17). The timing of work in the other streets is yet to be decided. This decision was made by the CBD/Riverbank Feedback Group in consideration of Keen Street’s current condition, the number of underground services, linking with the new toilet on the corner of Keen and Woodlark Streets, and the fact we will soon have a new art gallery on this street bringing new visitors.

Council staff are now conducting test pitting on Keen Street and, following consultation with businesses, will have a clear idea of time frames, including a start date.

Ongoing communication
We will provide a monthly bulletin like this one to all business owners in the affected street to ensure everyone is on the same page about where we are up to and what is happening next.

Once construction begins, we will issue bulletins weekly so everyone is up-to-date at all times. It is never easy doing a project in such a central location, but we want to ensure it is as smooth and easy for shopkeepers as possible. While there will be some disruption, the results should be well worth it!

Who do I contact if problems arise or if I have questions?
Philip Tsourlinis
Project Communications Officer, CBD Inner Footpath Upgrade
Phone: 0427 661 006 or email philip.tsourlinis@lismore.nsw.gov.au.