The Weekly Advertiser Horsham

Project shines new light


Ararat’s retail precinct has undergone a transforma­tion with officials switching on new festoon lighting along Barkly Street.

Ararat Rural City Council installed the new lights as part of a $250,000 streetscap­e renewal project designed to open and encourage outdoor dining, activities and events in the city’s heart.

The project has also included the installati­on of new decorative dividers outside cafes, restaurant­s and hotels, and extra outdoor power points.

Council chief executive Tim Harrison said the new streetscap­e would create a more attractive environmen­t for residents to enjoy and added to the region’s liveabilit­y.

“As part of the council’s commitment to creating more active, vibrant spaces to increase visitation and night-time trade, we consulted with our retail businesses on ways to activate outdoor dining and events,” he said.

“We received a number of bright ideas with an overwhelmi­ng response that improved lighting, access to power and alfresco-dining dividers enhancing the entire streetscap­e.

“It also means that staff at our cafes, hotels and restaurant­s no longer have to move dividers in and out each day, saving time, energy and the odd sore back.”

Ararat firm AF Gason has worked closely with the council to help plan a detailed design for the divider screens to complement and enhance the look and feel of the central business district.

“Several models were considered before settling on the final design of the dividers, taking into considerat­ion the Art Deco influence of a number of the iconic buildings along Barkly Street,” Dr Harrison said.

“The festoon lighting and the dividers also create a consistent look for the streetscap­e, bringing out Ararat’s unique heritage and character.”

Streetscap­e changes have also included ‘uplighters’ at two palm trees in front of Ararat Town Hall and banner flags running from Shell service station to Baker’s Brew.

“We’ve had positive feedback from hospitalit­y and retail businesses and residents who are saying Barkly Street is now totally lit,” Dr Harrison said.

“This will open up opportunit­ies for expanded hours of trading, which will help increase the stay and spending from visitors.

“Limited indoor seating resulting from COVID-19 restrictio­ns has been a major challenge. Hopefully,

by encouragin­g creative dining solutions and our free parking initiative, we can help them bounce back.”

Many Ararat regional businesses partnered with the council in providing infrastruc­ture, supplies and materials for the project. This included CHS Group for lighting and electrical work, AF Gason for design and production of street dividers, Harvey Norman Ararat for supply of outdoor heaters, Lyal Eales Ararat for

supply of gas bottles and Grampians Winemakers in donating wine barrels for outdoor entertaini­ng.

The State Government funded the project through its outdoor eating and entertainm­ent package business grant program.

Dr Harrison thanked the government and the council’s economic developmen­t team and outdoor crews for working with businesses and suppliers.

 ?? ?? LET THERE BE LIGHT: Ararat council chief executive Tim Harrison in Ararat’s new-look Barkly Street.
LET THERE BE LIGHT: Ararat council chief executive Tim Harrison in Ararat’s new-look Barkly Street.

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