February 12, 2020
South Burnett Regional Council will spend $11.1 million on the transformation of Kingaroy’s CBD if its latest application to the Federal Government’s Building Better Regions (BBR) fund succeeds.
An amended plan for the project was unveiled at the Kingaroy Chamber Of Commerce and Industry’s meet’n’greet on Tuesday night.
The plan has increased Council’s original financial commitment to the project from $4 million to $6 million, and axed several components that were part of the original design, including the futuristic “urban plaza”.
Under the new plan, part of Glendon Street will be turned into a shared community zone to allow the Town Hall’s forecourt area to be extended for community events, such as school formals and markets.
Through traffic on the section between Alford and Haly streets will be diverted around the existing Glendon Street car park.
Revitalisation efforts will now be restricted to the blocks bounded by Haly, Kingaroy and Alford streets.
Plans for a car park on vacant railway land between Haly and King streets have been temporarily shelved.
Refurbishment of the Alford Street (ie. Commonwealth Bank) car park – also included in early drafts – will now be a separate project, with work expected to start later this year.
The changes were unveiled by SBRC Infrastructure General Manager Aaron Meehan to an audience of almost 80 people at the KCCI meet’n’greet, hosted by Husky’s Burgers.
Mr Meehan told the meeting that after having the project rejected twice by Building Better Regions, officers sought advice about how to ensure Council’s application for grant funding met the program’s guidelines.
The result was a reduced scope and an increased Council contribution, with the SBRC seeking $4.5 million from the Federal Government towards the $11.1 million project, and ratepayers contributing the rest.
Mr Meehan said a large part of the project would involve replacing the CBD’s ageing underground infrastructure.
However, if Council’s funding application was successful, this infrastructure would be “future-proofed” by building extra capacity into underground mains and conduits to allow further expansion without the need to rip up pavements each time one was required.
This would result in substantial savings for ratepayers over the longer term, as well as less inconvenience to CBD traders and customers when capacity upgrades were necessary.
Above ground, revitalisation efforts would focus on making the CBD area more “liveable” and pedestrian-friendly.
Apart from improvements to footpaths, the upgrade would feature new street furniture, pedestrian build-outs, improved lighting, comprehensive CCTV coverage, safer pedestrian crossings, and landscaping.
Mr Meehan stressed the next BBR funding round of $200 million was expected to be heavily over-subscribed, drawing applications for up to $1.2 billion worth of infrastructure projects.
As a result, it may take several months for BBR to fully evaluate applications and announce successful bidders, and a successful application was not guaranteed.
But since BBR would only fund “shovel-ready” projects, no work on the project could begin until the outcome of Council’s latest grant application was known.