HEPBURN Shire Council has released a draft strategy to revitalise and attract more shoppers to Daylesford’s central business district but critics have labelled some of the proposals in the document “crazy”.
Proposals in the draft plan, produced by Melbourne consultants Village Well, include moving the town’s war memorial across the road, cutting up to 60 parking spaces, planting trees and installing bike lanes in Vincent Street and opening the Town Hall precinct to the community.
The council’s 2011-12 budget has an allocation of about $400,000 for the project, with $125,000 already spent.
Daylesford RSL sub-branch president Keith Pyers said the proposal to move the war memorial was “crazy” and “unnecessary” and there had been no attempt at consultation with the RSL.
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“I can’t understand why they’d want to move it,” he said.
“The proposal is to put it over beside the Royal Hotel. I see disadvantages in putting it next to the pub.
“It’s just a crazy idea.”
Daylesford trader David Sim, who was a member of the project’s reference group, said he was satisfied with its current direction.
“It gives people an opportunity to indicate what they’d feel comfortable with,” he said.
But Jenkin and Thomas Retravision/Mitre 10 owner Russell Jenkin said he was concerned about the possible financial impact if car parks were removed from the main street.
“The biggest complaint of my customers is they can’t get a park,” he said.
Lorraine Nicholls, a resident of Daylesford of 50 years, described the proposals as “a whole lot of rubbish”.
“It’s airy fairy ideas and I doubt it will ever get passed,” she said.
Ms Nicholls said the council could use the money to repair the footpaths in Vincent Street “so we don’t fall over and hurt ourselves”.
Daylesford Streetscape Revitalisation Project steering committee chairman Jonathan Barrell said he was aware there had been some criticism of the process and the outcomes to date, but there had also been been an enormous amount of praise.
He said all of the proposals were based on community suggestions that came out of an extensive consultation process.
Cr Barrell said the plan offered key options for the community that included upgrading streets and roads, enhancing public space and upgrading Daylesford’s laneways to improve amenity, parking and options for retail space.
He said the council did not intend to remove 60 car parks, but under several designs canvassed it was one of the options.
The Vincent Street Revitalisation Project will be undertaken in four stages.
Stage three — construction — is due to to start this year.