City favours laneway fund

Geraldton Guardian - - News - Francesca Mann

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.

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