THE detailed design of Foster’s Streetscape Project is nearing completion, when it will be put out to tender. In the meantime, feedback is invited from the community over the next few weeks on the options for footpaths, seating, rubbish bins, bicycle racks and garden beds.
The manager of engineering services at South Gippsland Shire Council, John Moylan, was a special guest at the meeting of Foster Community Association on Monday evening last week, along with design consultant Darren Coco. They presented the design and invited comments from those present, who included a number of local retailers as well as members of the community association.
The project has a general aim to improve drainage in the centre of Foster. However, it is also about beautifying the streetscape and making it generally more appealing, and this is where the community is invited to have input.
The design incorporates footpath outstands to slow the traffic down and make it easier for pedestrians to cross the road safely. Some retailers at last week’s meeting expressed concern that these outstands would force a reduction in the number of car parking spaces, but they were assured only a couple would be lost.
Construction of the revamped streetscape – along Main Street from Pearl Park to the front of the IGA supermarket, where Main Street becomes Station Road – has been costed at $860,000. Council will contribute $500,000, with the remainder of the funding dependent on a grant from the state government.
Council is hoping to hear later this year if its grant application has been successful. If so, road works are planned to commence at the end of next year’s busy summer tourist season, around the end of January, and run for a couple of months. Several retailers queried the wisdom of such a schedule, alarmed at the potential impact of an extended period of road works through the centre of Foster. They asked to be kept well informed of any developments.
Several people also expressed concern that the special design did not extend far enough down Station Road but stopped abruptly about halfway along the supermarket frontage. They were told that extending it further would add to the cost.
At this stage it is planned to keep all the existing trees and replace all the seats and bins. The bench seating will match that of the new bench seating in Pearl Park. Some of the garden beds will be removed and community input is welcomed as to what should be planted in those beds which remain.
A number of people pointed out the increasing popularity of cycling and recommended a greater number of bike racks should be installed. There was also a lot of discussion on the type, placement and number of rubbish bins.
Local CFA captain David Jones suggested that fire hydrants should be placed in the outstands where they were readily accessible, instead of on kerbs where they tended to be blocked by parked cars.
The proposed design for the Streetscape Project can be viewed at Foster Library. Community feedback is welcomed, with responses sought by Friday July 17. Please direct your comments to Geoff Harris, president of Foster Community Association, tel. 0429 111 539.