Armidale Regional Council backs concept plan for upgrade of Guyra’s main street

PLANS IN PLACE: Armidale Regional Council Director of Regional Infrastructure Rob Shaw speaks with Council staff and local residents in the main street.
PLANS IN PLACE: Armidale Regional Council Director of Regional Infrastructure Rob Shaw speaks with Council staff and local residents in the main street.

Armidale Regional Council has adopted the concept plan for the upgrade of Guyra’s main street and supported the preliminary cost estimate of $2.7 million.

Council Administrator Dr Ian Tiley said that the main street project had been on the agenda of Guyra Shire Council since 2013 but had stalled due to lack of funding.

“There is now an opportunity to progress this valuable project by utilising several funding sources available as a result of the amalgamation to form Armidale Regional Council,” said Dr Tiley. “This is a win for the Guyra community that was unlikely to happen without the major injection of funding that came about as a direct result of the merge.”

Guyra Shire Council began community consultation and planning for the main street project in 2012.

“When Essential Energy proposed to install underground electric cables in the footpath, connections to shops and some additional lighting, Guyra Shire Council saw an opportunity to upgrade the road pavement and footpath at the same time,” Dr Tiley said. “Concept plans were prepared and community meetings held but the project was put on hold. Regrettably, to date Essential Energy has declined to contribute to the project.”

The concept plan for the main street project includes full reconstruction of the road pavement, footpath paving and new kerb and gutters. The design incorporates three pedestrian crossings which will assist with traffic calming. It also includes street landscaping, bins and seats and new street lights.

The original concept plan suggested nose-in angle parking and a long mid-block shared zone but these will be deleted from the final plan at the request of local people, Access Advisory Committee and the Guide Dogs Association.

Businesses will have an opportunity to repaint their shopfronts with paint supplied by Council, in keeping with a new colour scheme to be suggested by a colour consultant.

“A funding application will be presented to the Stronger Regions Assessment panel on 14 March seeking $2 million towards the project,” said Dr Tiley. “The balance will come from Council funds. Work includes adjustments to water and sewage facilities in the road and footpath and will be able to utilise section 94 reserves.”

The Stronger Regions Funding is part of the $10 million fund provided to Councils that have undertaken mergers in NSW. The major projects program of $9 million allocates funding to larger scale priority infrastructure and services projects that deliver long term economic and social benefits to communities.

If the Stronger Regions Funding application is supported by the panel, the project will be endorsed by Council and work will commence in 2017/18. In the meantime, detailed design has commenced and is planned for completion in July 2017.

Guyra resident David Mills believes the opportunity to access this one off allocation of funding is a once in a lifetime opportunity that will benefit the whole community.

“Guyra’s main street is well overdue for an upgrade,” he said. “The plans to replace non-compliant electrical facilities, reconstruct road and footpath surfaces and enhance the streetscape with landscaping, new seating and better lighting is great step forward in our desire to revitalise the CBD.”