March 23, 2018
The first round of public consultations on the multi-million dollar revitalisation of the Kingaroy CBD revealed a surprise result on Thursday … everyone is keen for improvements to be made in Kingaroy, Alford and Haly streets but less keen on the creation of a “Kingaroy Plaza” in Glendon Street.
Experts from JFP Urban Consultants – the Brisbane-based company which was commissioned last year to to begin planning Kingaroy’s CBD upgrade – joined with Council staff to speak at meetings held in the Kingaroy Town Hall Reception Room for CBD property owners, CBD traders and the general public.
A total of about 75 people attended the three sessions, and the consensus was unanimous … if the project is to be completed in stages, the Glendon Street plaza should be done last.
Kingaroy Chamber of Commerce and Industry members had enjoyed a sneak peek at the concept plans at their recent meet’n’greet but for most people, it was their first opportunity to take a look at the initial proposals.
South Burnett Regional Council Technical Services Manager James D’Arcy said the consultants had gone back to the old makeover plans for Kingaroy developed by landscape architect John Mongard in the early 2000s.
Mr Mongard’s company helped to create the then-Kingaroy Shire Council makeover of the Town Hall Forecourt, O’Neill Square and the Heritage Precinct (Art Gallery, Visitor Information Centre and Museum).
Mr D’Arcy said there had been a lot of good material gathered by Mongards during some robust community engagement but not all the issues that had been identified had been addressed at the time by Kingaroy Shire Council.
The area that has been identified as the centre of attention for the project is bounded by Youngman, Haly, Markwell and Kingaroy streets.
This area includes Alford Street, from Youngman to Kingaroy, and George Street.
Andrew Galt, from JFP Urban Consultants, described proposals to improve the streets with angle parking, “build-outs” and pedestrian refuges at the intersections, and more trees (while gradually removing the colourful but messy rain trees which are now classified as invasive plants by Biosecurity Queensland).
Concrete median strips would also be introduced to help control and slow traffic, making the area safer.
Another change would be the relocation of the Haly Street pedestrian crossing from near the South Burnett Times to near Raine & Horne.
Concerns were expressed from the audience that the proposed designs could hinder truck access to businesses along Haly Street.
Also discussed was the matter of pig trucks traversing Haly Street, famously described by a former Kingaroy mayor as “the smell of money”.
Mr Galt said the revitalisation had to be a balancing act between the safety and attractiveness of the CBD, and the important part that pig trucks played in the local economy.
However, he said the suggested changes to Haly Street could encourage the trucks to use another route, for example King Street.
Mr Galt stressed that Youngman, Haly and Kingaroy streets were all State-controlled roads, which meant any changes on these streets would have to be approved by the Department of Transport and Main Roads.
The proposed changes in Alford and Markwell streets – Council-controlled roads – would be easier to achieve but would also most likely require a reconfiguration of access to Shoppingworld’s underground car park.
Car parking in the Kingaroy CBD was a major topic of conversation at all three sessions.
The removal of centre parking in Glendon, Alford and Markwell streets would make the areas safer but with the loss of many car parking spaces. To rectify this, a new bitumened car park would be built on the old railway land at the end of George Street, which potentially could be expanded westwards.
Access to this car park would be via George Street or by a link from the O’Neill Square car park behind the old Railway Station building.
Pedestrian access would be via a footpath along the side of the vacant block beside Raine & Horne which has been earmarked by Council for future development. This footpath would lead to the re-positioned zebra crossing on Haly Street.
Mr Galt conceded that about 50 vehicles were regularly parking in this undeveloped area already, mostly employees from local businesses.
Discussion at the lunch time session also included the possibility of including the Commonwealth Bank car park – at the rear of the Kingaroy Street shops – into the upgrade, as well as linking the cycleway down to Somerset Street (which would be a separate project).
The most spectacular part of the project is the proposed “pedestrianisation” of Glendon Street to form a Town Hall Plaza.
JFP Urban Consultants have prepared three concepts for the re-development of this area:
This new Town Hall Plaza would extend the width of Glendon Street from the water feature in the current Town Hall Forecourt to a possibly re-configured play area next to the old bus station.
Access to the Fire Hydrant Booster at the base of the forecourt would be maintained to allow its use by fire engines; the former Community Health Building in the Glendon Street car park – owned by the State Government – would also have to be maintained with a roadway sweeping around the existing car park.
Three video “fly-thrus” of the proposed CBD upgrades shown at the public sessions could not help but emphasise the power lines over all streets.
Mr D’Arcy said Council had been talking with Ergon Energy and the corporation may look at taking their infrastructure underground.
In fact, the most expensive parts of the revitalisation project will occur underground as vital services including water mains, sewerage pipes and communication lines criss-cross the area.
Mayor Keith Campbell said a revitalisation of Kingaroy was “certainly overdue” but Council would not be completing the project in one go.
The plans show various zones which would be developed gradually over several years as funds became available.
“It is not the only capital works program we have to do,” Mayor Campbell said.
“It will have to be supported by the State and Federal governments so we will be chasing down everv dollar for it that we can.”
South Burnett Regional Council currently has a funding application with the Federal Government’s Building Better Regions scheme for $2 million.
They should know if they have been successful within six weeks.
This $2 million would be matched with $3 million from the Council for the initial phase of the project.
“If we miss out on the funding now, there is a 90 per cent chance that it won’t be going ahead … now,” Mayor Campbell said.
“But we will be ready to take advantage of future funding opportunities.”
One final session in the current round of consultations was held in the Town Hall Reception Room from 9:00am to 11:00am on Friday, March 23.
Note: The South Burnett Regional Council has released a feedback form (2.33Mb PDF) for the public to make submissions on the Kingaroy project. Forms should be printed off, completed and returned to any Customer Service Centre.