Contract signing sees Cowra Council a step closer to CBD redevelopment

Kendal Street in Cowra.
Kendal Street in Cowra.

The final step in Cowra's CBD redevelopment will soon commence, with Council this week signing a contract with Activenergy/L-Don Sporting Areas, to undertake the CBD Footpath Reconstruction Project.

It is anticipated that the site set up of the project will commence mid-September 2019, with construction to commence at the end of September and the total project taking up to 12 months.

"We look forward to beginning this important final stage of the CBD redevelopment to support existing businesses, attract new businesses and provide the community with an inviting place to shop," Cowra Mayor, Cr Bill West said.

"We acknowledge that the project appears to be quite lengthy to complete, but this is due to Council's commitment that no shop will be closed during normal opening hours as required by the community and Council.

"Additional time has been allocated for the project to meet this commitment, as well as shutdown times around Christmas, public holidays and bad weather."

Director of Environmental Services and project manager for the works, Kate Alberry said community consultation will be paramount to the success of the CBD Footpath Reconstruction Project.

"Both the contractors and Council will have a shop front presence in the main street to answer questions, and for the public to view the plans," Ms Alberry said.

"Council will communicate regularly with all shop owners/operators to ensure that they're informed about the stages of construction.

"While Council acknowledges there will be disruption to the pedestrian flow and some car parking, we are committed to there being no restriction to shop access during normal business hours."

The commencement of the CBD Footpath Reconstruction Project follows Council's recent efforts to support Target's presence in Cowra.

"Council has been talking to the State and National management of Target Australia over the past 12-18 months in an effort to ensure Target retains a presence in the Cowra community," Cr West said.

"The condition of the privately owned car park at the rear of the Cowra retail store is a major concern for Target and Council has sought to address this in two ways.

"Firstly, Council purchased the Lachlan Hotel car park at the beginning of the year, allowing Council to improve the parking facilities.

"The purchase did not include the car park directly behind Target, which is privately owned along with the Target building itself, and currently leased to Target Australia.

"Secondly, Council recently resolved to fund the upgrade of the privately owned section of the car park, in conjunction with the property owner, to satisfy the concerns of Target.

"We hope that by Council redesigning and redeveloping both parking lots, capacity will be improved and the safety of users and their vehicles will be ensured.

"I have spoken to the head of Target Corporate Affairs in Melbourne and also the NSW State Manager for Target to assure them of Council's intent and to remove this issue as an impediment to Target continuing to operate in Cowra.

It is understood Target will now work with the property owner to address a number of issues in-store that we hope can be resolved and a new lease negotiated.

"Target, like many retail businesses in Cowra, is facing challenging times with the ongoing impact of the drought, people not shopping locally and people increasingly making purchases online," Cr West said.

"The best thing we can do as a community is to buy locally and I urge members of the community to do so wherever possible."