Maleika Halpin and Luis Feliu
Tweed shire councillors say plans for main road ‘streetscaping’ should be less about coloured concrete and more about ‘greenscaping.’
Councillors decided alternative options should be explored for streetscaping a large section of the busiest local road in Tweed Heads South, Minjungbal Drive. $250,000 has been earmarked for upgrades during the next financial year,
The streetscape improvement on Minjungbal Drive between the interchange with the Pacific Highway and the Kennedy Drive exit, staff say, will ensure the road’s future capacity to carry traffic and cater for public transport.
A large portion of these costs have been allocated to ‘beautifying’ the major multi-lane road.
Crs Katie Milne and Michael Armstrong moved successfully for deferral in order for for staff to prepare other options which had not been previously looked at (in a 5-1 vote, Cr Phil Youngblutt against).
Cr Milne said she was ‘not a fan of painted concrete’ and she had expected the works to be more about ‘greenscaping’ or ‘softening’ the road area, where possible with some bird-attracting vegetation, to help reflect the aesthetic backdrop of the shire.
She said council should look to ‘some fantastic’ greenscaping done by the Gold Coast City Council along the highway ‘where dense planting of trees has really softened the concrete landscape’.
Cr Armstrong said it was ‘an opportunity to capitalise on the lush green landscapes and beautify the entrance to the Tweed shire’.
Cr Carolyn Byrne voiced her concerns over painting large sections of the median strip, which she described as ‘a dangerous distraction for drivers, and costly’.
Cr Byrne, backed by Cr Youngblutt, failed in a move for the works to be undertaken in stages and to reduce extent of median island colouring in the wider sections of the road to reduce cost, subject to budget allocations.
Cr Katie Milne said Cr Byrne’s motion would limit the opportunity to talk about painting concrete and suggested indigenous artists could be commissioned for works in areas not suitable for greenscaping.
Five segments have been proposed by council for ‘beautifying’ including: $64,000 to be spent on Heffron Street to Kirkwood Road; $20,000 on Kirkwood Road to Blundell Boulevard; $24,000 from Blundell Boulevard to Machinery Drive; $13,000 for Machinery Drive to Soorley Street, as well as the Soorley Street to Pacific Highway Interchange.
Staff said the median beautification works aimed to add interest to the streetscape, given the status of Minjungbal Drive as a major arterial road.
Meanwhile, Cr Gary Bagnall succeeded in several motions to improve the look of Murwillumbah.
Councillors unanimously backed moves for a workshop to educate councillors on the concepts contained in the Woods Bagot study undertaken several years ago for the renewal and beautification of the central business district of the town.
The workshop will explore options for decommissioning the old and prominent toilet block in Queen Street, and look at works which could be immediately started along Alma Street, South Murwillumbah, to create a better entrance to the town.
They also unanimously endorsed Cr Bagnall’s motion for the immediate cleaning of footpaths and street furniture in the CBD in light of the expected influx of visitors to see the redeveloped Tweed Regional Museum in Murwillumbah, which opens soon.
A further successful motion has resulted in plans for a future workshop of councillors and staff to look into affordable strategies for the beautification of Prospero Street in South Murwillumbah, including tree plantings, murals on private property (to be negotiated with owners), street bins and seating, and signage ‘highlighting the unique character of the street’.