Home' The Great Southern Star : May 24th 2016 Contents “THE STAR”, Tuesday, May 24, 2016 - PAGE 9
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By Tony Giles
THE loss of parking spaces in Bair
Street, Leongatha appears to be the
main sticking point of the Leongatha
Chamber of Commerce and Industry
ahead of crucial meetings tonight and
next Tuesday, May 31.
Business groups and the community are be-
ing sought for comments and input on the draft
master plan created for the Re-Imagining Bair
There is a meeting tonight, May 24 from 6pm-
7pm in Meeting Room One (Leongatha council
chambers) inviting any commercial landowners
and businesses keen to hear more about the mas-
ter plan and have their views aired.
Alternatively there is a meeting for anyone
in the community to attend next Tuesday, May
31 at the Dakers Centre in Leongatha from 5pm-
7pm (presentation at 5.30pm).
Leongatha Chamber of Commerce and In-
dustry president Peter Watchorn said the cham-
ber supported the project which would give new
life to Bair Street, but suggested a few amend-
The main issue for him and most chamber
members is concern at the loss of so many park-
ing spaces. Bair Street has 87 car parks current-
ly but with Option A (24 less parks brings this
down to 63) and Option B (18 less parks, down
to 69), this is too much of a reduction.
“At our recent meeting a few members were
actually surprised that not only would Bair
Street not receive more car spaces but actually
quite a few less,” Mr Watchorn said.
“We are going to propose to the shire it re-
duces the number of crossing points to open up
more parking spaces. We want the beautification
but by having less crossing points we believe
the ambience will be retained without losing so
Mr Watchorn said he would like to see the
number of parking spaces lost down to single
“We are seeking input from not only our
membership base but anyone who owns a shop
or a business in the town,” he said.
“It is time for businesspeople to get off their
backsides and attend one of these meetings, ei-
ther tonight, or next week. If you don’t attend
and see what is planned and make your feelings
known, then there’s no point complaining about
something after council has voted on the end
Mr Watchorn said his members are steering
towards Option B with some modifications and
he will be submitting his members’ thoughts via
letter and in person at the meeting.
The draft master plan was prepared in re-
sponse to feedback received from the commu-
nity in November and December 2015.
According to council’s planning manager
Paul Stampton, the plan reflects the key mes-
sages coming from the community which were
to make Bair Street greener (more trees), more
pedestrian friendly (better crossings, more seats)
and better connected with the rail trail and rail-
He said the upcoming meetings were impor-
tant to galvanise people’s opinions. He respected
there would be varying responses council would
need to interpret.
“We’ll also be seeking to have discussions
with VicTrack about the land at the rear of Bair
Street. Now that the tourist rail has wound up
it very much puts this area as well as the whole
railway precinct up for discussion,” Mr Stamp-
The hope is additional parking can be placed
at the rear of Bair Street with a ramped up entry
point near where the former pedestrian bridge
Mayor Cr Bob Newton said revitalising Bair
Street would be a catalyst for change in the re-
“Investing in Leongatha’s CBD ensures we
position the region for economic growth and
prosperity for the future. Considering the recent
impacts on our local dairy industry this work is
vital to support our community’s ongoing stabil-
ity,” he said.
“We need to invest in the future of South
Gippsland and Re-imagining Bair Street is one
project that can significantly affect the overall
prosperity of the region by supporting our exist-
ing businesses and encouraging new businesses
to start up in the area.”
The master plan proposes two alternative
options and meetings tonight and next week
will hope to merge the two options into one
for recommendation for council to vote on in
In general terms the plan involves road and
footpath improvements, new landscaping, street
furniture and other upgrades to revitalise the
town. One improvement will be to widen the
footpaths in an endeavour to attract more out-
door dining and cafes.
The work is linked into the current construc-
tion of the Leongatha heavy vehicle alternate
route which will direct through traffic along
Long Street and off Bair Street.
Improvements along Bair Street will be de-
signed to slow traffic and make it more shopper
friendly, potentially attracting more people and
Which one: South Gippsland Shire Council’s senior strategic planner Chantal Lenthall and
planning manager Paul Stampton are asking the community for their feedback at two impor-
tant meetings concerning Leongatha’s CBD.
Crunch time for Bair Street
therefore more tenants to shops.
Changes not only affect Bair Street, but
Gollers Lane, Lyon Street, Hyland Place, Leon-
gatha Horticultural Park and surrounding areas.
The draft Leongatha Streetscape Masterplan
(Re-imagining Bair Street) will be available for
public comment from Tuesday, May 24 until
Friday, June 10.
The masterplan is available to view on coun-
cil’s website, at council’s office and at 37 Bair
Street. Any individuals wanting more informa-
tion about the plan should contact council’s stra-
tegic planning officer Chantal Lenthall on 5662
You can also let council know of your feed-
back by undertaking its online survey: survey-
For further information refer to the Bair
Street spread in today’s Star on pages 28 and
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