TAMWORTH Regional Council’s planning director says the $4.5 million Fitzroy Street plaza project hasn’t worked and vows to make some changes.
Brent McAlister has only been a director in Tamworth for a matter of months, drawn to the job by cohesive council and a stunning main street.
He said CBDs were vital for communities and served as shop-fronts for the city.
Any sort of CBD space needs comfortable seating and shade and it doesn’t have either of these.TRC planning director Brent McAlister
But one of the more recent additions to Tamworth’s city centre “hasn’t worked”, in Mr McAlister’s words.
“It’s hot, extremely hot, you see very few people in it,” he said.
“The council are keen to see that remedied.
“Any sort of CBD space needs comfortable seating and shade and it doesn’t have either of these.”
The construction of the plaza caused some angst as foot traffic dwindled and high hopes were held for the future with many businesses believing it would be worth the struggle.
Since it’s opening last year, the Fitzroy plaza has been home to a number of well-attended events, including Fiesta La Peel, football world cup screenings and Christmas tree lightnings.
But Mr McAlister said the plaza couldn’t solely be an events venue; he said it needed “attractions”.
“If you go to any of the malls … they all have a manager, Santa doesn’t just turn up by accident, they don’t have holiday programs by accident,” he said.
“One of the things I’ve encouraged council, if Fitzroy plaza is going to work, there needs to be at least a part-time person who is actively getting activities down there.”
He said there was still some money in the budget for additional work on the pedestrian mall and council had met with an urban design specialist “to try and get some priorities to fix up that plaza aspect”.
“The acid test would be people talking about the plaza and they say ‘I’ll meet you at the plaza’,” he said.
“To me, it won’t happen until we’ve got some sort of active, at least, part-time person looking at it.”