After years of heated public debate about the future of Bridge Mall, councillors have approved plans to re-open the street to traffic.
A majority of four to three signed off an officer plan to allow slow-moving eastbound cars back in a bid to breathe new life into the area, which has a surfeit of empty shops.
It was by no means a foregone conclusion. In a fascinating and impassioned debate that see-sawed for more than an hour, it seemed at one point a decision would be held - not for the first time - until another day.
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Cr Ben Taylor had moved the motion to support the officer plan, with Cr Peter Eddy seconding it. Cr Taylor argued that "doing nothing is not an option", while Cr Eddy said the expertise of design consultants Hassell - who had mapped out the plan - had convinced him it was the right call.
However, three councillors subsequently spoke against the plan.
Cr Mark Harris felt the council had not been provided with enough choice on the options, while the deputy mayor Cr Amy Johnson said she strongly preferred opening up the mall to westbound traffic to improve the arrival to Sturt Street.
Cr Belinda Coates said she had "agonised" over her vote but was not convinced the plan would be the best stimulus to rejuvenate the Bakery Hill precinct.
With two councillors not in the council chamber to vote - Cr Samantha McIntosh was an apology, while Cr Tracey Hargreaves declared a conflict of interest as her yoga studio is within the area being considered - the vote rested on the shoulders of veteran councillor Cr Des Hudson.
Initially, Cr Hudson appeared to be angling for a deferral and more discussion of the options. However, once director of development and growth Natalie Robertson estimated that a deferral would push work back by at least six months, Cr Hudson spoke in favour.
"I do agree with councillor Taylor that a do nothing approach, we have gone past that," he said. "We do need to move forward tonight."
The mayor Cr Daniel Moloney was the last to speak, crystallising support for the officer plan by four votes to three. He said it was a problem that had vexed the city since his teenage years.
"The consistent view we keep on hearing is that this area is paralysed by a lack of decision," he said. That has now changed, with the vote giving the green light to cars on the street for the first time since it closed to traffic in 1981.
An initial sum of $15 million was set aside for Bakery Hill works in the council budget of May 2019, when the possibility of reopening it to traffic was mooted for the first time in recent years.
The agenda for Wednesday's meeting revealed that works to open the mall up to traffic would cost more than that initial budget, coming to an estimated $17.7 million.
One public submission - from former mayor John Barnes - had said there had not been enough analysis of the economics behind the options, nor were there detailed enough costings.
Design consultants Hassell were appointed to come up with a plan in May last year. Part of the rationale behind the solution they presented is that eastbound traffic would attract more locals, who spend three times as much in the area as visitors.
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Under the schedule outlined in the agenda, design development will happen this year, with construction to take place in March or April next year.
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