The Legacy of the State Government imposing on Local Government any informal meeting of Council being available to the public is on show this week with the storey about King William Road in the Eastern Courier and the subsequent media explosion.
The legislation requiring this has led to this week’s headlines about King William Road, headlines based on discussions in an informal gathering of Council that have no legal status. Headlines that have left our community believing we have made decisions contrary to our vision for King William Road.
Councillors and Senior Management discussed how the role out of our King William Road Master Plan is going. Because any informal gathering of council must now be open to the public this discussion was attended by our local press representative.
For those out there who believe the headlines and can’t understand why we would pull those pavers up and put asphalt down in its place don’t panic. We have made no such decision.
Your stress is State Government induced. By making all our meetings subject to public attendance we no longer can simply discuss an issue without people believing that the discussion is tantamount to a decision on our part.
Here is what happened.
Anyone who has frequented King William Road in the last two years would be aware we have trailed the use of parklets in the precinct. The first two have now been replaced with permanent kerb build outs allowing comfortable alfresco dining in two of the side streets.
This shows some receptivity by traders to modifying the King William Road environment between Park/Mitchell Streets and Arthur Street. Enough to suggest moving the master plan forward.
Administration advised during the discussion that with the need to consider repaving the street in the near future, moving the master planning forward was probably a good move. They did compare the cost of doing this by bitumen rather than pavers to assist us elected members understand what we are faced with.
We are likely to see later this year a report from Administration come to a full meeting of council. At that meeting I suggest we are likely to decide whether to pick up the pace of improving the road to make it more pedestrian friendly and therefore more of a destination sooner than our current program is doing.
A far cry from replacing our 30-year-old pavers with asphalt or bitumen.
If you are interested, you can view the 2014 master Plan draft here.