IN the wake of calls from some quarters for the Langtree Mall to be redesigned to allow for through traffic and parking, Mildura Rural City Councillor Mark Eckel says he is not opposed to the idea in principle.
“I am not against investigating one-way traffic option through Langtree Mall, ” he said this week.
“After all, it was me who raised the issue in council and the press around two years ago,” Cr Eckel said.
“We had a chance of including it in the ‘CBD Plan 2020-2035’ in June 2020, it had been 12 years since council last considered the strategic future of the CBD.
“Consequently, a thorough engagement and analysis was carried out.
“It’s accepted every time council embarks on such a plan, Mildura and the broader region changes significantly in economic terms and climatic conditions.”
Councillor Eckel said that the feedback was taken into account and in respect to the Mall there was limited comment from the community or traders in written submissions.
Of 85 submissions, only six called for removal and two referred to retaining.
“To challenge this within one year after the plan was adopted by Council by-passes legitimate process,” he said.
“Furthermore, in this coming budget, councillors have to consider whether to commit $285,000 to the Capital Works Program coming out of the recommendations of the adopted CBD Plan.
“Ryan Hammerton’s plan is welcomed but needs to be considered at an appropriate time as we are now discussing our 2021/22 budget.
It would also need another consultative process an engineering analysis that maybe required to make the mall surface suitable for traffic and parking and so it lacks the rigour necessary for me to consider it as an urgent item.”
Under Mr Hammerton’s plan, much of the mall’s existing infrastructure and most trees would be retained with one-way traffic entering from Eighth Street.
His plan would also create more than 40 angle parking bays.
Speaking to the ‘Weekly in October last year, Mr Hammerton said that while there had been positive reaction from retailers and residents, multiple attempts to engage council over the concept “have been met with general apathy.”
Councillor Eckel said that he had previously pointed out that the city doesn’t have the necessary framework to take such issues (after appropriate evaluation) forward to Council who is the responsible authority for implementing public infrastructure improvements.
“The CBD’s two bodies act independently. The Mildura Traders administer a levy from traders to enable MCH to add value for stakeholders,” he said.
“Neither is it a core product of Mildura Regional Development. On top of that Mildura businesses have been reluctant to support a Chamber of Commerce. We should have a peak body to meet the aspirations of the local community.”