Blackbutt CBD traders with Deputy Mayor Gavin Jones (4th from right) overwhelmingly endorsed Option 3 for the redevelopment of the town’s CBD a few nights after a public meeting at Blackbutt Memorial Hall did the same thing … but local residents still have one last chance to make their views known before work begins (Photo: Facebook)

April 30, 2021

Blackbutt’s streetscape project will proceed, but the town’s residents will still have one final chance to have a say on its design before the first sod is turned.

The decision to engage in a final round of community consultation was made at Wednesday’s General Meeting after several councillors raised concerns about the project.

Cr Kathy Duff said she had gained the impression from a community consultation meeting held at Blackbutt Memorial Hall on April 22 that the town was divided about the project.

Further talks she’d had with residents before and after the meeting had confirmed this impression.

But Deputy Mayor Cr Gavin Jones disagreed.

He said the 50 or so people who attended the public meeting had voted overwhelmingly for Option 3, and a meeting of CBD traders he had called a few days later produced the same result.

Mayor Brett Otto said he accepted that Option 3 was the town’s preferred choice, but believed several important questions had yet to be fully resolved.

One of these was the locations of six disabled parking bays.

Another was whether the CBD footpaths should be resurfaced with pavers or coloured concrete.

The Mayor said he thought it was important to hear from Blackbutt residents who had disabilities to get their view on the best locations for the town’s disabled parking bays – a point strongly endorsed by Cr Danita Potter.

He also said while pavers had initially been ruled out as footpath surfacing because they posed a potential trip hazard, they were used extensively in Kingaroy’s Memorial Park and seemed to perform flawlessly.

The Mayor said he had gone back to Blackbutt to look at the pavers there and found they were free of defects, but this didn’t apply to some concrete footpaths on the opposite side of the street, which were cracked and shabby.

So while some people had accepted coloured concrete surfacing along Coulson Street at the public meeting, he thought there might be a different outcome if they were given a choice.

The Mayor also underlined that Blackbutt was rapidly developing into a tourist town, and as the southern gateway to the region it was important that Council “get this right”.

After a long and involved debate that lasted well into the afternoon, the meeting resolved to hold a final round of public consultations on the project before work begins.

All three options for the CBD redesign are now available to view on the SBRC website (9.4Mb PDF) or can be obtained in hardcopy format at Customer Service Centres.

Feedback on preferred options can be given to the Council by email or by phoning Council Executive Services on 1300-789-279 or (07) 4189-9100.

Work is expected to start before the end of June.

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