$14.7m revamp of Maitland centre  

ACCESS: The upgrade includes a link to the Hunter River, shown in this concept image. Picture courtesy Maitland City Council ACCESS: The upgrade includes a link to the Hunter River, shown in this concept image.
杭州桑拿

ACCESS: The upgrade includes a link to the Hunter River, shown in this concept image.

CARS will roll through Maitland’s heart again after councillors gave a long-awaited overhaul of the precinct the green light.

The $14.7 million upgrade of the city centre is scheduled to begin in less than a year after last night’s unanimous vote paved the way for a new look in central Maitland.

“The dream has come true,” Cr Henry Meskauskas said.

“You can say whatever you like but this is an investment in Maitland.”

The mall will be overhauled during two stages, eventually creating a “river link” structure, giving pedestrians direct access to the banks of the Hunter.

Several councillors discussed the plan’s popularity in community feedback and said the enriched space would be a drawcard.

Cr Ken Wethered said it would be a new outlook for the city.

“Since the flood in 1955, Maitland has turned its back on the river and I think we as a central business district have paid the price,” he said.

“Let’s start giving it a heartbeat that it deserves.”

A report to councillors said the plans had received “generally positive” feedback while most concerns were over finer details including the heritage-style lamps dotting the precinct.

“This is to be expected in any consultation, particularly on a project of this significance,” the report said.

Resident Doug Clements called on councillors last night to delay a decision on the development, arguing they had no business case to proceed.

Commercial landlord Linda McLean said she considered the plans overblown for traders, who had wanted a simple traffic route through the mall.

“We don’t want it,” she said.

“We just want traffic through High Street.”

The Newcastle Herald has reported the council will borrow $10 million to complete the works.

The first stage of works will refurbish the mall, refitting the Elgin and Bourke street intersections with asphalt.

Phase two of the revamp will include the river link, an open structure leading from the mall on to the Hunter River’s banks, and an upgrade of waterfront paths.

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