April 22, 2021
As many car parking spaces as possible, no garden beds in the middle of the road, leave the footpaths as is and DEFINITELY no roundabout.
These were the opinions aired at a Council consultation meeting attended by about 50 Blackbutt residents at Memorial Hall on Tuesday night.
South Burnett mayor Brett Otto called the meeting to discuss options for the proposed $1.3 million makeover of the Blackbutt town centre.
SBRC General Manager Infrastructure Aaron Meehan and all South Burnett councillors – with the exception of Cr Danita Potter – were present at the meeting as well.
Mayor Otto passed around printouts of three options for the proposed redevelopment.
All three featured a roundabout near the historic Digger statue – an idea which the meeting immediately dismissed, and which Mayor Otto said was not planned to be part of this upgrade anyway as it would depend on Department of Mains Road approval.
Option 1 was the plan released early this month which provoked much discussion on social media when unveiled.
This included the creation of a pedestrian “refuge” midway along Coulson Street, including associated landscaping and a shelter (designed to make crossing the highway safer); and raised planters and low-maintenance vegetation along Coulson Street’s central median strip as well as garden build-outs in several locations along the footpaths.
Mayor Otto said the number of car parking spaces in Coulson Street in this option would drop from 96 to 79, but the number in the southern end of Hart Street would rise from 16 to 24, meaning an overall loss of nine car parking spaces.
But if all the camphor laurels were removed from the centre of Coulson Street, he estimated another eight parking spaces could be added.
The meeting voted down Option 1 unanimously.
Option 2 removed the large pedestrian refuge opposite the Blackbutt Bakery but still included garden beds in the centre median area of Coulson Street, a shade shelter in the middle of the road for pedestrians, and added garden beds along both footpaths. This would lose six car parks in Coulson Street.
Option 3 was similar to Option 2 but with a bench seat instead of a shade shelter near the Hart Street intersection.
Under all three options, there would be two extra disabled parking spaces, taking the total number in town to six.
Put to a vote, the meeting preferred Option 3 but did not believe there was a need for a pedestrian waiting area in the middle of the street.
A few planter boxes along the footpath rather than centre garden beds was also a preferred option – but only if Council would maintain them.
And barely three votes supported replacing the current pavers along one side of the street with coloured concrete.
Mayor Otto reminded the meeting that nothing was “done and dusted”.