Renewing the realm

A bold plan to utilise federal government drought communities funding of $1 million could see a raft of projects fast-tracked in 2020 to revitalise the main street of Two Wells.

In what Adelaide Plains Council CEO James Miller described as a “once-in-a-generation transformational change” opportunity, councillors heard from planner and urban designer, Michael McKeown, of consultancy firm Jensen Plus, at its meeting on December 16.

Mr McKeown outlined a range of 15 proposed projects that would work alongside one another to improve the main street thoroughfare and the local streetscape.

The projects included the possibility of a town square, more seating, street furniture and public art, rainwater gardens, facade upgrades, improved car parking, safe pedestrian crossings, and additional street trees as well as upgrades to the public toilets and local playground.

The much-talked-about roundabout at the end of the junction of Mallala and Old Port Wakefield Road would also be incorporated into this vision if councillors vote to move forward with the plan as outlined.

As part of stage 1 of the Drought Communities Programme (DCP), Adelaide Plains Council received $1 million earlier this year.

Fifteen community and sporting group projects across the district were “locked in” and are set to be completed by June 2020, with council now eligible to apply for Stage 2 funding of a further $1 million.

Mr McKeown’s briefing highlighted certainty for expansion with regard to unlocking Crown land, renewing the public realm in a visual and practical way, and defined safe and accessible access routes for pedestrians and cyclists.

It also looked at “seeing” Two Wells through improved branding, signage and town entrances, and aimed to support local businesses with facade upgrades and business coaching as a priority.

“(Two Wells) is a place that has a lot of charm and qualities and services and activities but I think at the same time, in many respects, the public realm, is looking a little bit tired in places, and the public spaces, some of them are old, the infrastructure, the signage, the seating, the landscaping, could be brought up to another level, and that’s exactly what’s being done in many other communities,” Mr McKeown stated.

Mr McKeown highlighted projects in Kapunda, Murray Bridge and Pt Pirie as examples of work he had been involved with in recent years.

“A lot of these projects started out with a simple concept, ‘what can we do with this space?’,” he said.

“So we’ve been working with some of your staff to really think about what we could potentially do in Two Wells to make a big difference in a short period of time and the opportunity of your potential funding sources to really innovatively make an impact.

“You have to think about innovative delivery methods and you have to work really closely with the community, both the resident community and also the business community.

“We have to integrate it with other masterplanning that has been going on, and we have to bring our expertise from other projects.

“It is something that could potentially really work to help, not only bring a local improvement but to change the perceptions of how outsiders see Two Wells as well.

“You’re looking to attract residents here, you’re looking to attract small business owners to invest here, you really need to change their perceptions as much as the local community.

“And we need to think big – we’re really looking for that big impact.”

A well planned program of projects across the year of 2020, that would start and finish at different times, was the most practical way to deliver this proposal, Mr McKeown said.

“It’s a proposition to do something quite interesting to address some of the issues around the public realm to attract people to Two Wells for the benefit of the community and doing it really quickly,” he concluded.

“If you do that, you’ll be well ahead in most places.”

APC mayor Mark Wasley appeared to be a little stunned following the presentation and a ripple of excitement at the possibilities could certainly be felt in the chamber.

“Thank you very much, wow, that’s a lot to take in, but boy it’s really opened up our eyes to the possibilities of what can be done,” Mayor Wasley said.

“It is a very good project for workshopping, to sit down and go through it and really look at the costs involved, what’s achievable within the time and how we can double our money and value add.”

APC CEO James Miller said the decision on what to do with “council’s most recent Christmas present” as part of the DCP Stage 2, was ultimately for elected members to consider.

“I see this as a wonderful opportunity to do some once-in-a-generation transformational change in the Two Wells public realm but I respect the fact that members may have their own list of projects they’d like to see make it in part or in full, allocated to, so it really is just a conversation starter at this stage,” Mr Miller said.

Cr Terry-Anne Keen moved a motion for councillors to hold an informal gathering in the new year to discuss the Jensen Plus briefing.

The motion was unanimously carried.


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