CBD PLAN: How two rejections went in council’s favour
COUNCIL's Infrastructure general manager Aaron Meehan believes being knocked back twice for funding to upgrade a town's CBD was actually a positive outcome in the long term.
South Burnett Regional Council finally received $4.7 million from the Federal Government to contribute towards the above and below-ground costs for the estimated $11.3 million Kingaroy Revitalisation Project.
Mr Meehan said he and his team had finally found a silver lining to years of planning.
"What we have on the table now is a special project," Mr Meehan said.
"After our second knock-back, James D'Arcy and I met with the Federal Government and went through the application to see how it could be approved.
"We got some really good feedback about what the project needed to be and concentrate on.
"They said they wanted us to focus on the liveability aspect of it more so than the infrastructure, which is interesting when we talk about people's perceptions about what should and shouldn't be in a CBD project.
"A lot of the things that we look at are infrastructure-based but the outcomes and purpose are essentially to activate community and economy."
Manager of Infrastructure and Planning James D'Arcy said his experience and learnings from another South Burnett CBD upgrade had assisted in the planning process.
"I worked on the Nanango Streetscape Project and after that was completed four years ago the focus shifted towards Kingaroy," Mr D'Arcy said.
"Upgrading the Kingaroy CBD has been talked about since the early 2000s, but in late 2016 discussions really ramped up.
"Conservations were based around, 'What do we want Kingaroy to look like?' or, 'How can we get the outcomes people are seeking?'
"We started throwing items on the table and eventually it went beyond council's capacity and we had to get other stakeholders involved."
Now, after more than fours years of extensive work, Mr Meehan said the hard work was just about to begin.
"We are still finalising the design and working out a timeline and official start date for the two-year build," he said.
"People talk about smart cities, well this is going to be smart country.
"I will not build another project of this nature in my time, neither will James.
"There are big projects that are worth more money but $11-$12 million for a CBD upgrade for a regional town is huge.
"How many CBD streets can you go through and they look nice, but we want ours to be engaging and want the human and social benefits.
"It's going to be more than just a footpath."