SU­MIT TOLD: “It’s time to fix past mis­takes”

Geelong Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - SHANE FOWLES

A RE­DESIGN, more ac­tiv­i­ties, bet­ter in­fra­struc­ture and al fresco din­ing is on the agenda for a re­vamped Lit­tle Malop St mall.

The City of Greater Gee­long and State Gov­ern­ment will soon con­sider a range of ini­tia­tives to im­prove the area, with a new ac­tion plan to be drawn up. The re­newed fo­cus fol­lows a Safe City Sum­mit yes­ter­day, which fo­cused on the fu­ture of the mall.

Co-hosted by the coun­cil and Vic­to­ria Po­lice, the sum­mit re­ceived in­put from 60 rep­re­sen­ta­tives, who were drawn from a di­verse field in­clud­ing the busi­ness sec­tor and young mall users.

Gee­long’s chief ad­min­is­tra­tor, Kathy Alexan­der, said there was strong agree­ment about a num­ber of nec­es­sary ini­tia­tives.

“There was a lot of con­sen­sus ... that we re­ally need to be big and bold, and po­ten­tially open the streets again in some way and cre­ate flows of peo­ple through it,” she told the Gee­long Ad­ver­tiser. “That we need to make it at­trac­tive, light and bright and make it an all-weather area.”

Other pro­posed fea­tures in­cluded: THE need to ac­ti­vate the area, with a play­ground, big screens and events for peo­ple of all ages; IN­CEN­TIVES for busi­nesses to of­fer al fresco din­ing, to mirror the bur­geon­ing West End of Lit­tle Malop St; MOV­ING the bus in­ter­change; and PRO­VID­ING out­reach sup­port ser­vices in the mall.

The de­sign of the area was a key topic, with wide­spread sup­port for open­ing up the mall and mak­ing it an at­trac­tive des­ti­na­tion.

“Un­for­tu­nately a lot of the wrong de­ci­sions (were) made a long time ago,” Dr Alexan­der said. “(Like) clos­ing off the area, hav­ing blank walls in the area, putting all the shops inside, mak­ing that di­vide be­tween the in and the out.

“Maybe we have to undo some of the de­ci­sions of the past, and chip away at do­ing all those small things.”

Dr Alexan­der, who will exit her role in six weeks when the new coun­cil is elected, said she would draw up an ac­tion plan that would de­tail spe­cific roles of dif­fer­ent agen­cies. “We will start talk­ing to gov­ern­ment de­part­ments about how we ac­tion this and who is go­ing to do which bits,” she said.

The nec­es­sary in­vest­ment is ex­pected to come via the Re­vi­tal­is­ing Cen­tral Gee­long Part­ner­ship, which is jointly over­seen by the State Gov­ern­ment and the coun­cil.

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