Monday, 12 December 2011

Cairns City Heart to receive another by-pass

City Place design change plans

Daniel Strudwick
Monday, December 12, 2011
© The Cairns Post

Doomed: The undercover performance stage that will almost certainly be torn down as part of the City Place overhaul. Picture: TOM LEE

The State Government has tweaked its plans for the overhaul of City Place, but Cairns Regional Council wants a handful of demands met before ground is broken on the project.

The Department of Transport and Motor Vehicles has secured $36 million for the transformation, which is likely to see City Place torn up and opened to traffic. Plans are only at the concept stage, and the council says more community consultation will need to take place before detailed designs are finalised. The latest changes to the design include moving a proposed 45m bus station to the south side of City Place, where the transit mall is located.

In a letter to the council, the department’s regional director, Tony Potter, said the changes would minimise the impact on business frontage and access to the existing properties on Lake St. Mr Potter also said the construction phase would be less intrusive to Lake St businesses if the proposed changes are endorsed by the council. The revised concept design would also improve the number of car parking spaces available to the public, Mr Potter said.

The proposed bus station is expected to be more user-friendly than the previous design, which called for four separate bus "bays" rather than a single, long bus platform. Councillors have been advised to support the concept design, but only if DTMR agrees to conditions such as ongoing community consultation and a tropical design that reflects the character of the surrounding buildings.

The council also wants the undercover performance stage in City Place to be replaced with another stage somewhere else in the city heart before the existing one is torn down to make way for traffic. Cr Alan Blake, whose division takes in the Cairns CBD, says he supports opening up City Place to traffic, but says the plans still need work. "Malls have been the death of many a small town and I think this particular city centre has been testament to that," he said. "It’s about time we got something happening."

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