City favours laneway fund
City of Greater Geraldton Councillors voted in favour of contributing $100,000 towards the redevelopment of a laneway in the CBD during Tuesday’s council meeting.
Councillors agreed to enter into an “easement in gross” for public access through the laneway, located between CityHive and the old Lotteries House on Marine Terrace. As part of the easement, public access will be guaranteed through the laneway from 6am-11pm, seven days a week.
Any proposal to put a gate on the property will require a separate development application, which would need council approval.
The City’s $100,000 contribution will not be used towards the installation of a gate. “The money can only be used for the laneway enhancement,” Cr Steve Douglas, who moved the motion, said.
“The ongoing maintenance is at the proponents’ cost and the agreement stands with whoever has ownership (of the land).
“It’s been a long time coming but is good for the city; it signals we’re a go-ahead council with things that enhance the city.”
The redevelopment cost is estimated at $220,000 and will include shade sails, public art and planter boxes. Cr Simon Keemink supported the motion and said the redevelopment has already created a “vibrant space”.
Councillors Graeme Bylund and David Caudwell voted against the motion, noting the proposal was not consistent with the 2012 City Centre Planning Policy, which states pedestrian links are required to be “convenient, open and safe 24 hours a day”.
When the proposal was first tabled at July’s agenda forum, CBD Property Trust member Christian Watters assured councillors if the laneway was gated it would remain open during “reasonable hours”.
“Shutting the gate at any time would be breaking the law,” Mr Watters said at the July meeting.
“There’s no intention that the normal population of thoroughfare will be impacted at all.”
As part of the approved easement, City personnel will be able to access an electrical switchboard for maintenance on streetlights.
The easement includes a City drainage pipe located on the site.