Town plans won't kill character

The landscape architecture firm engaged to give Eden a makeover says it is not looking to “reinvent the wheel”, and is keen to preserve the town’s iconic look.

Spiire Australia and Bega Valley Shire Council representatives spoke to residents at a Community Listening Post event on Thursday, giving locals a chance to provide feedback on the firm’s draft design principles and options.

Tim Buykx, Spiire’s Senior Associate of Landscape Architecture and Urban Design, said the major points raised by locals related to mobility issues, pedestrian crossings and visibility at intersections.

The original plans developed as part of the Action on Imlay project involved removing some of Imlay Street’s central median masts to accommodate disabled parking, but Mr Buykx said Spiire would keep the town’s character intact.

“We’re not proposing to make any major changes to Imlay Street,” he said.

“Eden has an ageing population, so a lot of the feedback we’ve had [from residents] has related to mobility issues, and providing safer access for people in wheelchairs.

“We’ve also had feedback [regarding visibility] on the intersection near the Killer Whale Museum.

“There were quite detailed plans developed by the Action on Imlay group, so it’s more of an implementation game than a reinvention game.”

Mr Buykx said Spiire had met with Bega Valley Shire Mayor, Cr Bill Taylor, on Wednesday, to discuss their progress, and would again meet with councillors on Friday.

He said their input would play a major part in preparing draft master plans, which will again be made available for public feedback next month, with Eden to be looked at before the CBD areas of Bega, Merimbula and Bermagui.

The original plans to have work begin in winter are likely to be delayed, with this round of community feedback only the seventh stage of a 12-step process that began in September last year.

“We’ll be back with more detailed plans next month,” Mr Buykx said.

“The original plan was to start work in winter, but I’d say that it’s more likely that we’re looking at six to 12 months.”

To register your details and keep up to date with the project, visit the project website at www.spiire.com.au/projects/begavalley

Residents can also provide their feedback by completing a community survey on the website, which closes on Friday, March 21.

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