A three-metre wide median strip proposed as part of Adelaide Plains Council’s (APC) ambitious Two Wells main street upgrade has been slammed during the public consultation process, which closed at the end of May.
APC received 26 submissions in response to its plan during the three-week public consultation period, which not only outlined a planted median strip along Old Port Wakefield Road, but incorporated new public toilets, village green/town square area and nature play space, new street trees and furniture, safer pedestrian crossings, and new street signage.
While many of the submissions were positive of council’s direction and encouraged by the plans, there were others who thought the $700,000-plus spending was a waste of ratepayers money, and the negative impact of development to residents who currently live within the township was not being taken into consideration.
Added to this is news APC did not receive $904,000 additional funding from the state government under its Planning and Development Fund Grant program for the Village Heart component of the upgrade, which means funds for the proposed new public toilets, had to be found elsewhere.
Members of the Two Wells Community Reference Group, which was established by APC to help council guide the project, consisting of local business owners, residents and interested stakeholders, was asked to comment on the concept plans.
This is what some of the comments received included:
“Can’t wait for this project to start”; “Love, love, love the median strip in main street”; “I loved it and can’t wait for it to be done!”; and “I really love the median strip down the centre of the main street with the tree plantings and pedestrian refuge. I believe it will define the street, make it much easier and safer for pedestrian traffic and add a whole new dimension of beautification.
Other comments highlighted the need for new public toilets.
“Overall I found it to be very well done and very well planned out and am quite thrilled to see we will be building a new toilet block rather than upgrading the old one, allowing you a blank canvas to design the perfect plan for that area,” one reference group member stated.
“I think a lot of visitors’ judge a town by its public toilets and this may allow visitors to stop and have a shower if required and freshen up.”
However, the strongest theme coming through the public consultation process was the issue of a fixed median strip along Old Port Wakefield Road, despite this aspect of the project not being considered in the plans until later stages of development.
APC discussed the submissions and the concept plans for the project at its June 22 meeting, conducted electronically once again due to COVID-19 restrictions, with the chamber spending almost 40 minutes on this one issue alone.
APC CEO James Miller, said community consultation and feedback made it clear further investigations and consultation is required for the proposed median island.
“…the redevelopment of the Two Wells Main Street will be an initiative delivered over a number of financial years, subject to successful funding applications at both Commonwealth and State Government level,” Mr Miller stated in a report to council.
“That said, the first stage and its successful delivery will be critical to establishing momentum for the long term.
“The Village Green is a key component of that, and was firmly supported through the consultation process.
“Elected Members will note that the proposed median island remains within the plans, with further investigations and consultation proposed to advance future stages.”