Maleny streetscape concept revealed

By Mitch Gaynor

CAR parks would be removed, footpaths widened, new trees planted and artworks and seating installed as part of a new concept plan for improving Maleny’s main street.

But a limited budget of $2.75 million will only see a fraction of Maple Street developed with residents being urged to have their say to maximise the most of the budget allocation.

The new streetscape concept was revealed at a Maleny Forums meeting at the Community Centre on Tuesday evening.

Sunshine Coast Council’s Hiren Bhatt

Council’s draft concept divided Maple Street into four development zones, with SCC Senior Place Project Officer Hiren Bhatt saying the budget would allow either the full development of one zone or a mix of smaller improvements across multiple zones.

Zone A stretches along the west end of Maple Street, with zones B, C and D heading east to Teak Street.

Mr Bhatt acknowledged the development of any one zone would result in the loss of approximately two car parks.

“What we have shown here would be the loss of roughly six to ten car parks across all zones,” Mr Bhatt said.

“If we select one of those areas that would be one or two car parks lost. But the benefits would be wider footpaths, seating, opportunities for placemaking and creative elements.”

Mr Bhatt added that the estimated loss of parking was “very approximate”.

“We are not locked in (to the concept) and are asking what else would you like to see,” he said.

Professor Greg Mews

Residents raised a number of issues including the lack of car parking, with one attendee at the forum saying parking was already a considerable issue and would the council consider a multi-deck car park behind the IGA that was easily accessible for those with mobility impairments.

That idea appeared unlikely to pass a business case, however council representatives urged residents to forward their concerns in the streetscaping survey.

Also speaking at the forum – which was attended by about 100 residents – was urban design expert Professor Greg Mews, who urged the community to speak up and ensure it was a space created for everyone.

“The fundamental principle of placemaking is about a collective. Not about the individual, it’s about having accessibility to all and starting with the most vulnerable.

“If we get that right, the environment and the conditions, for the most vulnerable, then we can get it right for everyone.”

He said international examples, including in Copenhagen and Montreal, showed how relatively inexpensive steps helped create beautiful and valued community places.

Maleny Forums held a meeting at the Community Centre on July 19 allowing the community to better understand plans to streetscape parts of Maple Street.

“Placemaking has an opportunity not only to claim space back but you as a community to determine what to do with that place and how long you want to do something in that place,” he said.

Following community consultation a final concept plan will be revealed in late 2022 before construction begins in mid-2023 with a 2025 completion date.

Feedback closes on Monday August 15.

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