The mature trees, innovative bike racks, seats, tables and other furniture will really come into its own when the warm weather pops in Leongatha later in the year.

 

THE 70 trees that have just been installed in Bair Street Leongatha is one thing but what’s even better news for the town and the local community is the number of businesses, new businesses that have been attracted back to the street.

It’s a fantastic outcome according to Leongatha Business Association President Anthony Wall.

“I predict there won’t be an empty shop in Bair Street by Christmas and that will be a great outcome,” Mr Wall said this week.

“We saw it on the day that people could first get out after the COVID lockdown just how vibrant and busy the street can be, even on a wintry day, so it bodes well for a bright, new future for the town.

“It’s freshened up the street and the whole look of the town.

“They’ve put in established trees, some of them with leaves but the others will really start to come into their own in spring and we’ll be able to see the full transformation. It’s exciting.

“The street furniture looks good and the contractors have done a wonderful job really.

“The only other comment I would make is that we are already getting some feedback about a lack of parking, now whether that’s a reduction in the number of parks I don’t know. The shire has told us there’s no reduction, so possibly it’s just the added demand from people coming back into the street.

“Plus, we’re told some of the parallel parks are a bit hard to get into.

“Whatever the situation, and I don’t want this to sound like a negative because the work that’s been done has completely transformed Bair Street, but what I would like to see now is a comprehensive assessment on the parking in and around the CBD so we can make the most of it.

“If we have to go ahead and make the most of available parking on the rail reserve and in other locations, I think we should go ahead and do that.

“Next to having an attractive, vibrant place for people to come and meet and do their shopping, the next most important thing, its vital really, is to have enough carparking.”

But overall the Leongatha Business Association couldn’t be happier, confident that the $5.4 million redevelopment of Bair Street has changed the future of the town for the better.

“It’s great and all will be in place for our big celebration day on Saturday, September 11, for the Daffodil Festival and for the opening of Bair Street.”

Completing the project by September was a huge ask with December the target date, but it looks as if most aspects of the works will be in place by September 11 – a testament to the efforts of the contractors and shire outdoor staff, often battling some wintry blasts this year.

Some project details that may be of interest:

* 70+ trees have been installed in the precinct (previously only one tree). Trees were purchased in early 2020 and were grown offsite for the project.

* Many services adjusted for the works including:

o Water main and services renewal by South Gippsland Water

o Replacement of sewerage pit lids by South Gippsland Water

o Replacement of telecommunications pits and manholes

o Relocation of overhead powerlines underground

o Replacement and upgrade of street lighting

o Replacement and upgrade of drainage network

o Installation of new subsoil drainage

* Road crossing distance for pedestrians has reduced from 22 metres to 7 metres

* Over 5000 tonne of new road material placed

* Over 6000 square metres of new footpath

* Officially, there has been no reduction in number of car parking spaces in precinct, according to the shire.