BIG NEW IDEAS FOR FIXING TROUBLED MALL:
SUMIT TOLD: “It’s time to fix past mistakes”
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.