M’BORO MAKEOVER: Knock down to build up in CBD plan
A WRECKING ball will herald a new era for Maryborough's CBD.
Tenders for the demolition of the condemned former council administration building will be considered next week as the next phase of the CBD's revitalisation gets underway.
Getting rid of the unusable building at 431 Kent St will pave the way for a new Fraser Coast Regional Council administration centre and library on the same site.
Councillor Paul Truscott said the project would centralise the council's staff in Maryborough, expected to bring more than 200 council employees back to the streets, increasing foot traffic and business.
He said the State Government had expressed an interest in sharing office space in the new Maryborough administration centre.
The State Government committed $921,960 towards the $2.5 million project to revitalise Kent St between Lennox and Adelaide streets, with the first stage of work completed earlier this year.
The latest stage of works will be east of the Kent St and Lennox St intersection and includes kerb and channelling, footpaths and paving, the replacement of the City Hall retaining wall as well as lighting, artwork and landscaping.
Work is expected to run between January and May 2020.
The majority of the works will be completed at night with a one-way flow of traffic during the day and a full road closure and detour will be in place during night works.
Cr Truscott said an independent engineering report found the existing administration building opposite the Maryborough City Hall had reached the end of its working life with not only asbestos found in the building but also structural and electrical issues.
"A new administration centre will allow council to provide improved services for residents and office space for staff currently scattered throughout Maryborough," he said.
Cr Truscott said a tender report would be considered at the council meeting next week, with the demolition expected to start in early March and be finished by the end of May.
"The School of Arts Building will be closed from early next year and for the duration of the demolition works, while the Maryborough Toy and Special Needs Library will also be relocated in January to a temporary new location that is yet to be determined," he said.
The long-term future home of the Toy Library is also yet to be determined.
Cr Truscott said although no designs had been completed yet it was expected the new building would be larger than the existing one due to requirements.
He also said he did not see the coming local council election in March having any impact on the continuation of the project.
"The demolition will be beginning before the election and there will be no administration centre there so I think it would be unwise for anyone in a future council to not want to continue with those plans. What we have set in motion here is terrific for Maryborough's future to see these sort of plans develop and progress," Cr Truscott said.
Councillor Daniel Sanderson said it was a "generational opportunity for council and a unique opportunity for Maryborough, with a lot of detailed planning and community consultation to occur before a new administration centre is built".
"Council has started the concept design work and is conducting an office accommodation review to determine the requirements for the new administration centre," he said.
"With both Maryborough and Hervey Bay libraries not having enough space to meet the needs of our growing population and to meet State Government public library grant requirements, we're also looking to incorporate a new library facility into the Maryborough administration centre."
Business owner Dianne England, who followed her dream three months ago and opened Back to Basics cafe on Lennox St, welcomed the idea of more foot traffic in the CBD as council staff move in.
"Most of my revenue now comes from lunch time so it will be great from that point of view if workers in the new admin building come for a walk down the street for lunch," she said.
"It would be good to get some community spirit flowing."