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Future City in the present as work begins on infrastructure projects

The first shovel will soon be in the ground for one of the Future City major projects as work gets started on the McNamara Lane precinct next month.

Future City, a bold and large-scale upgrade of the central business district (CBD) involving three years of projects ranging from business support such as website development, to large scale projects such as a mall in Anson Street and a community square in McNamara Street.

Part of this upgrade involves replacing decades-old infrastructure under the ground.

Orange Mayor Reg Kidd said it was vitally important to replace old infrastructure so it would cope with the big plans of the future.

“Replacing a water main is obviously not as exciting as a mall or a community-square but we need to ensure we have all the infrastructure in place to cope with the future expansion of the CBD,” Cr Kidd said.

“It’s important to get the underground projects done first.”

Work will begin next month on replacing a 150mm water main in McNamara Street South as part of plans to turn the Council owned section of the car-park into a lively city centre.

Work on the water main will be done at night and located on the footpath to minimise impacts on local businesses.

Whilst works are undertaken Council will have the road closed. It is likely work will occur on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights to avoid peak business times.

Orange City Council’s Employment and Economic Development Policy Committee Chair Tony Miletto said the community square in McNamara Lane would liven and brighten the precinct.

“It will create an enhanced night-time economy where people can watch movies projected onto walls, hold markets and listen to live music,” Cr Mileto said.

“During the week the car-park would remain as it is but on a weekend it would transform into a vibrant city centre free of cars.

“At a cost of about $500,000, this is a project which is relatively inexpensive for the huge impact it will have on the area.

“This will be a another space where the city’s small business owners can sell their products, our wine makers and produce makers can set up temporary markets, our artists can hold exhibitions and musicians hold an audience.

“The city’s night-time establishments then reap the benefits as more people are out and about in the evening attending events in the McNamara square. These people then head out to dinner or for a drink at near-by restaurants, bars and pubs.”

Council’s Infrastructure Committee Chair Jeff Whitton said the McNamara Street South upgrade would incorporate existing architecture and include rejuvenating tired-looking, blank walls.

“The design is in the final stages but would include new trees, vintage style, bud lights over the street, graphics on the road, much more greenery such as small gardens, pots and much more outdoor dining as well as public art, trellises, awnings and façade work.

Macnamara St concept

“These upgrade are all focused on supporting Orange’s economy, its local businesses, making the CBD more walkable and encouraging people to the city centre.

“A vibrant and busy CBD full of pedestrians is what our local businesses need to thrive in the current economic climate, which is why we’ve accelerated our plans for Future City and begun work now.”

Hive Orange, owner Prue Swain said McNamara Street had much potential and was keen to see it transform into a thriving pocket of the CBD.

“I’m really excited about what Future City will deliver for Orange and the local businesses,” she said.

“I’m proud to know that our investment in bringing the Hive to life has been recognised by Council who are now leading the way in transforming our little laneway that has so much potential.

“The lane has always had an unsafe stigma attached to it, but this is our chance to make something great out of what it has on offer.

“The activation of the square will see markets come to life, movie nights once the Hive’s outdoor cinema gets up and running and will mean our little end of the CBD attracts more foot traffic, which will again support the businesses along McNamara Street.”

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