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Planning begins to transform Orange’s CBD

Preliminary planning work has begun for Orange City Council’s OC Future City initiative to transform Orange’s CBD.

Mayor Reg Kidd is delighted the work is now under way following on from a strong call from the community for the CBD to be upgraded. (See details below)

“During the Where to Next? community conversation earlier this year, one of the key themes to come through was that the people of Orange want a CBD they can be proud of,” Cr Reg Kidd said.

“The need for more parking was there, together with calls for better traffic flow and pedestrian access. People want the CBD to be a better place for the community to meet together. They want features that will let the CBD be a place that can be used all year round and at night-time with better lighting and decorative festival lighting.

Pedestrians cross Summer Street“People know that an attractive, efficient town centre will draw a wider range of retailers to open up shop here.”

With $100,000 financial support from an Australian Government grant through the Building Better Regions Fund – Community Investment stream, Orange City Council has begun the planning work.

Deputy mayor Cr Joanne McRae said the community wants to see major changes.

“The challenge with this project is to raise the bar about what people can hope for,” Cr Joanne McRae said. “It has to be more than a few new planter boxes and free WiFi.”

“It’s a multi-layered approach to deliver the sheer scale of transformation that’s needed. We have to look at factors like urban design, transport, retail, technology, community spaces, parking and pedestrian access.

“Work has begun. Staff have already identified a number of government funding programs. The Western Research Institute has been appointed to do an independent cost-benefit analysis. A business and community workshop will be held next week to explore some new directions. We want to keep listening to the community as concrete plans emerge, but we also want to tap into the experience of expert urban designers.”

Residents who attend the OC Future City initiative community workshop Thursday 30 August will hear details of concept plans. The forum will be held in the Council Chamber from 6pm to 8pm on Thursday 30 August. Attendees can register by emailing

Summary of community contributions on CBD from Where to Next? Community Strategic Plan conversation

  • The topic of the proposed CBD upgrade produced many comments during the Where to Next? community conversation held as part of the Community Strategic Plan.
  • Calls to make the CBD a better place for community engagement, with suggestions to enable all-weather and night-time use, better lighting, and decorative festival lighting
  • Better technology integration in the CBD
  • Robertson Park improvements
  • Need for more parking
  • Improvements to traffic-flow, better pedestrian access & crossings
  • Calls for more retail options and better support for retailers
  • Comments affirming the value of the Civic Square precinct and asking for improvements
  • Better facilities upgrades with suggestions for toilets, bus stops and presentation improvements
  • Calls for a mall in Anson St or Lords Place.
  • Misc suggestions … Better movie cinema precinct, Matthews Park trains, community safety, heritage protection, Wade Park upgrade.

Among the ideas were suggestions for turning current open spaces into areas for community gatherings and engagements, and improving links to existing open spaces. For example, these comments focussed on the Woollies car park, the McNamarra Lane car park and Robertson Park/Civic Square.
~ Turn the Woolworths / Harris Farm carpark into a Euro style piazza or town square. It is a perfect central location for community events.
~ Integrate Robertson Park, civic centre referencing the Museum styling. Undertake a revitalisation of the Civic Centre link to Robertson park including a review of McNamara St (perhaps to a shared pedestrian traffic space and facilities for events including toilets on McNamara Street. The safety crossing from Robertson Park is poorly located and could be located so that vehicles turning left don’t conflict with people
~ Recently Council installed some seating and gardens here in McNamara Lane. Much nicer than a plain old footpath however it would be better if a couple of medium sized shade (deciduous) trees were included and a rubbish bin as last time I walked past there was quite a bit of rubbish in the garden.


  • Luisa Machielse says:

    If I may offer some ideas,
    – incorporate trams or trolley-cars (like Melbourne, San Francisco) for public transport in the CBD. It could be a tourist attraction, as well as useful public transport. If possible, solar-powered and motorised, without over-head wires. (ref:

    – Be the first city in Australia to use solar-powered grids on the roads (

    – have more technological and environmentally friendly transport options – ie, rechargeable electric cars, particularly for (wine) tourists to use (, or free-bike sharing options. More bike lanes, encouraging the use of bikes, with an educational program to match, not just for tourists but also for locals.

    – create council-run recharge cafes for mobile phones, becoming a hub of information and relaxation for the public, or a meeting point, in the new pedestrian plaza that was once the wasted space of the Woolworths’ car park.

    – A couple of undercover 2 or 3 story car parks off the main street that spread up and not out, taking up too much unsightly ground space.

    – More architecturally-exciting apartment stores. Perhaps, open up a competition, like what the Sydney Opera House did, to architect students to design a contemporary, forward-thinking and architectural significant building to replace and rejuvenate the Metro plaza?

    – Ban petrol stations from the main road (Shell, BP, Caltex etc.) It only encourages cars to access the main thoroughfare. Replace with cinemas, live music venues, roller rinks, etc….activities that are more centrally located to create a buzz both day and night in the CBD.

    – Much more presence on the history of the local Aboriginal culture. We don’t need to see Banjo Paterson’s face everywhere – it’s time we learnt and wondered at what the original locals did and learnt from the environment. Create a very central cultural centre proudly displaying our indigenous past.

    Thank you for taking the time to read, and hopefully it helps with some ideas for a great future for Orange.

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