Comur Street Action Plan
July 2017

Formerly: “Main Street Action Plan”

Introduction

The main street of Yass has many fine qualities, much appreciated by residents, that reflect generations of civic work and pride, The street compares well to many country town main streets in Australia. The idea that Comur Street could be improved is implicitly an acknowledgment of the street’s qualities. It is because the street has such fine qualities – “good bones” – that it has the capacity to become a very, very good street.  A Comur Street Action Plan is being prepared to continue ongoing street improvement that makes the most of Comur Street’s qualities.

This background paper has been prepared as a “stand alone” document that summarises how the Comur Street Action Plan is being made. 

Background

The Yass Main Street, for the purpose of this plan, is defined as Comur Street from the Yass River to Brown Street.

This draft Main Street Action Plan has been prepared for consideration at a public meeting to held on 28 June 2017.

 

The plan pulls together work that has been undertaken over several years.  Council produced a Yass Main Street Strategy in 2014. The Yass Valley Business Chamber subsequently commissioned a Main Street Action Plan, the 2016 Sheila Hughes Report.

 

The Chamber, like the Council, adopted a “bottom up” approach that started with what people said works well and what issues need to be addressed.

 

The 2014 Yass Main Street Strategy summarized the issues identified by the community through workshops as follows:

Across all sessions the most common themes were a desire to retain the heritage and ‘country’ feel of the town centre while upgrading and restoring old buildings to meet contemporary needs. Several groups identified that pedestrian access across Comur Street was a problem with various solutions suggested on how this could be addressed. There was also a focus on parking within the main street with various issues identified and varying opinions on what is needed.(YVC 2014: 7).

 

The 2014 Yass Main Street Strategy also sought feedback from an electronic survey.

Similar to the results from the workshops, survey respondents identified heritage values and gardens as being the best features of the Yass main street. The compact size of the main street was also highlighted as a key advantage.  (YVC 2014: 8).

The Sheila Hughes report reviewed the original documentation from the public consultation that led up to the 2014 Yass Main Street Strategy and summarized the issues, in order of importance, as follows:

Things most liked about the Main Street

The friendly local feel

The heritage buildings

The country town feel of the town centre

The convenient, compact centre with varied shops and services

The variety of specialist and general shops

Proximity to parks

Seasonal street decorations

Artwork

Heritage lamp posts

Outdoor dining

Planted gardens

Street trees

 

Comur Street Improvement Opportunities for improvement of Comur Street endorsed in the workshop

Commercial Hotel in its current state detracts from the street

Buildings needing refurbishment and maintenance

Inadequate pedestrian crossings

The number of events and festivals

Too many people parking all day in the main street

Unoccupied buildings and shop fronts

Shopping hours could be extended Inconsistent quality of presentation

Problems with access to buildings by people with disabilities

Lack of clear signage and communication

Additional or improved public toilets

More trees

More shelter from awnings and trees

Improved access to nearby parks Lack of suitably placed seats

Members of the Chamber participated in a workshop, held in June 2016, that considered the earlier consultation and, with the assistance of Sheila Hughes and her team, discussed possible improvements to the main street. The workshop deliberations were summarized in the Sheila Hughes report under headings of:

 

  • People and Community – an inclusive place
  • Transport and Connectivity
  • Business
  • Tourism and Events
  • Look and Feel of the Main Street and Town Centre

 

During discussion, possible actions were recorded. At the end of the workshop, six priority actions were identified. They were:

  • Enabling people to move safely and easily across and around the main street and linking nearby areas to the main street 

  • Solutions to drive investment on the main street including action on the Liberty Theatre 

  • Revamping the Memorial Hall as a key community space 

  • Optic fibre to premises connectivity for businesses 

  • Creek recovery and revitalisation and the greening of the main street 

  • Filling up empty shops in the main street including temporary use as business incubators, pop up shops etc. 


 

Workshop participants selected three of these actions to start work on:

  • Enabling people to move safely and easily across and around the main street and linking nearby areas to the main street 

  • Revamping the Memorial Hall as a key community space 

  • Optic fibre to premises connectivity for businesses 


Three working groups were formed to address these issues:

The Pedestrian Working Group;

The Memorial Hall Working Group; and

The Internet Connectivity Working Group.

 

Subsequently two public meetings have been held, at the Memorial Hall, in late 2016 and early 2017. At each meeting the three working groups have reported back and developed ideas further.

 

The Internet Working Group has canvassed a range of ways of bringing high speed internet connectivity to the main street, and has clarified its objective.

 

The Memorial Hall Working Group has established a working liaison with the Council’s Memorial Hall Committee and has begun the task of grant applications.

 

The pedestrian working groups have put proposals to Council which have been supported and are currently being prepared by Council for public consultation. The proposals consist of:

  • pedestrian refuges at several places in the street
  • Better numbering on the main street
  • Better parking signage on the main street
  • Paving between refuges
  • 40 km on MS / shared zone
  • Refuge lower down on block between Rossi & Meehan
  • Laneway & Banjo Patterson linked to main street to be more attractive.
Next Steps

The working groups will continue developing their ideas and activities.

 

Another step is to bring the activities of the working groups and the work undertaken by residents, the Council and the Chamber into a coherent Action Plan. An Action Plan will not only provide a clearer context in which each of the Working Groups function. An Action Plan will provide an overarching vision and objectives, spell out implementation strategies and actions, provide a  framework for other actions, and show who is doing what actions, when, so that all interested persons can see what is happening.

 

The action plan must reflect not only what people want to see happen, but what they are able to do. The action plan will evolve.

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