FUTURE PLANS: Artist impressions of various aspects of the CBD, showcasing the proposed eat street, cultural and commercial precincts in the Pialba area.
FUTURE PLANS: Artist impressions of various aspects of the CBD, showcasing the proposed eat street, cultural and commercial precincts in the Pialba area. Contributed

First steps in ambitious CBD project for Hervey Bay

AFTER years of planning for major urban renewal in the heart of Hervey Bay, the first steps of the city's CBD transformation could be taking shape.

Councillors have voted unanimously to investigate moving the current administration in Tavistock St to Pialba, as part of recommendations in the Hervey Bay CBD Urban Renewal Master Plan.

The council has so far endorsed the Cultural and Education precinct, Green Heart precinct and Civic and Entertainment precinct along with projects involving student accommodation for the university campus, traffic and transport planning outlined in the Master Plan.

The documents reveal proposed development of a new "Eat Street” dining precinct, a new council administration building, new buildings for commercial or residential use and an expansion of the open space west of Main St.

CBD VISION: An artist's impression of the Hervey Bay CBD Urban Renewal Master Plan, showcasing the new location of the council admin building (2), eat street (1), parking structure (8) and residential and office developments (10-12). A vote on the plan will be held in confidential at the council's meeting today.
CBD VISION: An artist's impression of the Hervey Bay CBD Urban Renewal Master Plan, showcasing new buildings and structures. Contributed

These are the first genuine steps in progressing the bold plan since it was first floated in June, 2015.

"It is an aspirational document, identifying desired outcomes and ambitions for the areas,” council documents reveal.

"It is an adaptable document and will be amended and updated over the coming 20 years in response to changing economic, environmental or social conditions.

CBD PLANS: Artist impressions of various aspects of the CBD, showcasing the proposed eat street, cultural and commercial precincts in the Pialba area.
CBD PLANS: Artist impressions of various aspects of the CBD, showcasing the proposed eat street, cultural and commercial precincts in the Pialba area. Contributed

"The CBD will accommodate a diversity of uses and activities, set within a walk-able and green urban fabric, and defined by an expansive and comfortable public realm.”

The council commissioned developer GHD Pty Ltd to investigate and prepare the Master Plan in 2014, which was then subject to robust public and business consultation.

The Fraser Coast Regional Council first endorsed the plans in March 2015, but little work on the project has progressed over the last three years.

Hervey Bay Chamber of Commerce president Sandra Holebrook said the project had the potential to be a catalyst for boosting business.

CBD PLANS: Artist impressions of various aspects of the CBD, showcasing the proposed eat street, cultural and commercial precincts in the Pialba area.
Green cabs transport passengers through a proposed Green Heart Precinct. Contributed

She said the construction of a new CBD area was the natural next step for the region in a "socio-economic sense”.

"To me, it's the evolution that has to happen,” Ms Holebrook told the Chronicle.

"We have to build confidence into the business community that will help them grow and be supported.

"Hopefully the council will draw a line in the sand and put their money where their Master Plan is.”

Ms Holebrook said the development could help kickstart a renewed business interest in Hervey Bay that would help make the area "entrepreneurial”.

"Sometimes it feels like we're ignoring the business community here by saying tourism and major economic aspects are more important,” she said.

"This project will help get rid of any negativity and breed some pride in the area.

"An anchor like this for the business community is important.”

While tight-lipped about the details of yesterday's discussion, councillor Denis Chapman said the Master Plan had the potential to mirror the business revival on the Sunshine Coast.

"It will be the same as the Sunshine Coast with their current CBD works, adding that confidence and business to the region,” Cr Chapman said.

"Moving the council administration building is how you grow CBDs and it's been proven by the Government's move and our work in the Maryborough CBD.

"It will be very beneficial for the area, another step forward in growing the Fraser Coast into a great region.”