CBD concept plans flag two possible malls, three multistorey car parks

BRAINSTORMING: Trevor Gazzard, Willemine Drage, Allan Renicke and Kate Curtin share ideas on Thursday night. Photo: DANIELLE CETINSKI
BRAINSTORMING: Trevor Gazzard, Willemine Drage, Allan Renicke and Kate Curtin share ideas on Thursday night. Photo: DANIELLE CETINSKI

MORE music venues, better pedestrian and bicycle connections and family spaces have been requested as part of a rejuvenated CBD. 

About 45 residents and business owners gathered at Orange City Council on Thursday to workshop ideas before a consultant puts plans to paper.  

The council’s corporate services director Mark Burdack started the meeting by sharing a number of concepts designed to boost jobs growth.

Two possible pedestrian malls were floated – one on Anson Street linking Summer and Kite streets or a piazza-style mall on McNamara Street between Summer Street and the Aldi car park, converting the council-owned car park behind the Hotel Canobolas into a plaza as a place for food and weekend markets.

Three possible multistorey car parks have been flagged, at the Ophir car park, the council car park and the Woolworths car park, as part of a multistorey commercial and residential concept previously proposed for the site.

Robertson Park was also put forward for an overhaul with extra lighting, plus permanent water, power, gas and WiFi facilities to enable a pop-up food space, while an outdoor cinema screen was suggested for the civic centre.

Better transport links were proposed between the former and future DPI sites, the railway station and the CBD to encourage office workers to leave their desks at lunchtime, including shared pedestrian zones in Byng and Summer streets. 

Mr Burdack said the current CBD was designed for 30 years ago and its future would need to look quite differen.

“We know the economics of larger department stores is no longer as strong as it used to be,” he said.

“People are looking for more distinct, interesting experiences when they shop.”

He pointed out David Jones had 50,000 square metres in its main Sydney store, but its Barangaroo store was only 1400 and IKEA was moving towards smaller concept stores. 

He said the population would grow by 8000 by 2030, 4000 of them working, and the freight load along the Mitchell Highway would grow by 71 per cent by 2034.

Those who attended the workshop supported McNamara Street as a music location, particularly for under-18s, with Collins Bookstore’s Margaret Schwebel pointing out a friend of hers could not bring music acts to town because there was no suitable venue currently. 

They also supported play equipment in the CBD where shoppers could give their children a break.

The ideas will inform the concept plans and help build the case for extra government funding.

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