Bunbury council debates at length proposed Prinsep Street revitalisation plans

Holly PrenticeSouth Western Times
Prinsep Street in the CBD is set for a makeover..
Camera IconPrinsep Street in the CBD is set for a makeover.. Credit: City of Bunbury

A revitalised plan for the beautifying of Prinsep Street has been approved by the City of Bunbury council after nearly an hour of debate at Tuesday night’s meeting.

During the meeting the proposed plans for upgrades to Prinsep Street were discussed with the area scheduled for repairs to fix the road surface.

The council has decided to use these planned works to revitalise the whole street by creating a more “walkable” CBD.

The plans include altering car bays, making some areas of the footpaths wider and more accessible, and the planting of trees and flower boxes along the street.

The pedestrian crossing along the street will also be moved to outside the arcade — determined a safer option than its current location.

The council debated which proposed plans — A or B — would be the one to go forward with.

Plan A was the “more walkable” of the designs, including more trees and wider footpaths, but less parking bays.

Plan B included two less trees than Plan A in order to retain three diagonal parking bays.

Delays and confusion in the debate arose quickly as Cr Michelle Steck was appearing via a pre-approved video link, however, technical issues meant at various points she could not be seen or heard by the council.

The council was evenly split over which design was better, with every member taking an opportunity to voice their opinions.

Mayor Jaysen Miguel, deputy mayor Tresslyn Smith, Cr Ben Andrew, Cr Karen Turner and Cr Parthasarathy Ramesh spoke in favour of Plan A, wanting a more “walkable”, greener landscape for the city.

An impression of the plans for Prinsep Street.
Camera IconAn impression of the plans for Prinsep Street. Credit: City of Bunbury

“The more people walk by shops the more they want to spend. The highest priority of the community right now is CBD activation,” Cr Andrew said.

Cr Todd Brown, Cr Cheryl Kozisek, Cr Marina Quain and Cr Karen Steele were more in favour of Plan B because business owners along Prinsep Street had indicated they preferred Plan B as it retained more parking bays outside their businesses.

A major issue in the debate was the diagonal parking bays, as councillors noted that three out of the four most recent incidents along the street were caused by the diagonal parking.

Cr Kozisek said this was a risk people were willing to take.

“My husband’s car got thousands of dollars in damage in the Centrepoint carpark a few weeks ago. These are just the risks people put up with,” she said.

Cr Gabi Ghasseb and Cr Steck, however, lent in favour of neither plan for differing reasons.

The details of Plan B which were voted in by the council.
Camera IconThe details of Plan B which were voted in by the council. Credit: City of Bunbury

Cr Ghasseb wanted to halt the plans because he wanted more detailed approval in the plans beforehand.

“There are too many blind spots in this project,” he said.

Other councillors debated the business owners along Prinsep Street had waited long enough for the repairs and they deserved a quicker solution.

“Let’s shut this (debate) down, just get on with it and get on with the next one, please,” Cr Turner said.

Cr Steck wanted to halt the project all together and made the alternate motion to postpone the work to the 2024-25 budget and count it as part of the CBD Revitalisation Project.

“One little street in the CBD isn’t going to make a difference,” she said.

“I don’t want to be digging up our streets in 18 months time.”

This alternative motion was defeated 9-2.

Plan B was the overall winner, narrowly winning the vote 6-5.

The project is budgeted for $1.15 million and once approved will begin construction in the 2024-25 financial year and be completed in the 2025-26 financial year.

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