Shire eyes Main St cash

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
The Margaret River main street redevelopment is moving into Stage Two, with the roundabout likely to be completed in the next few weeks.
Camera IconThe Margaret River main street redevelopment is moving into Stage Two, with the roundabout likely to be completed in the next few weeks. Credit: Warren Hately

Shire of Augusta-Margaret River chiefs are quietly confident a cocktail of State and Federal funding will help complete the town’s main street redevelopment — perhaps as early as Christmas.

The news comes as the main street redevelopment hit a new milestone this week, with Stage 2 of the project to start this weekend.

Local governments have been encouraged to draw on reserves to stimulate their economies through construction projects, but Shire president Ian Earl said that looked unlikely.

The Shire has fast-tracked the makeover as businesses shut down, and the as-yet unfunded Stage 3 would further take advantage of the crisis to deliver the revamped trading street in time for when the region welcomes new travellers, Cr Earl said.

“We remain extremely confident we will get funded,” he told the Times this week.

“We are expecting it reasonably soon. We’re pretty confident.”

A spokesman for Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan declined to confirm the outcome of high-level talks, saying the WA Government’s first focus was the wellbeing of households and businesses.

“As the State’s response progresses, Government will examine further stimulus measures and projects to support WA’s economic recovery,” he said.

“The State Government is contributing $5.5 million to the Margaret River Main Street development and is working with the Shire of Margaret River to see the project brought to fruition.

“We will work with local governments across regional WA to ensure our regional businesses receive the support they need.”

Shire chief executive Stephanie Addison-Brown said external funding to finish the job would be sought, leveraged against the Shire’s own previous investment.

“We are liaising with Regional Development Australia to obtain funding through the Building Better Regions Fund, and working with the South West Development Commission to identify suitable State Government funding streams,” she said. “The Shire’s priority project is the Margaret River main street upgrade and funding from the Federal and State governments is being actively pursued in order to progress and complete stage 3.

“Preparation of the 2020-21 budget has commenced and all available sources of funding, including use of reserves and loans, will be considered to progress other projects and present a balanced budget.”

Stage 3 runs between Willmott Avenue and Wallcliffe Road, and would cost about $3.1 million.

From today, Stage 2 would see excavation for stormwater drainage between Churchill Avenue and the Fearn Avenue intersection, connecting to pipes from Willmott Avenue. The Shire also said the new roundabout at Wallcliffe Road was on schedule to open soon.

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