Cairns City Place plan slammed as the road to ruin
A FORMER City Place manager has attacked a move to open the central plaza to traffic.
Researcher Evelyne Lewiston,who managed the area in the late 1980s and early 1990s, said it must be retained and upgraded.
"The whole world is pedestrianising and building bike paths. Putting a road through the City Place is absolutely ridiculous," she said.
While Mayor Bob Manningsaid the community would be consulted, he did not want to "dilly dally" on the matter.
Ms Lewiston said City Place was the heart of Cairns and once attracted 3000-4000 people on New Year's Eve.
"City Place is used as a whipping post every time there is a lack of tourists and/or retail activity," she said.
"The CBD pavers are filthy and many are chipped and broken and there are no water features, which for a city like Cairns built on a swamp and surrounded by water, is odd.
"There was a fountain in the centre of the City Place in the 80s, which was not only cooling and soothing to shoppers, but it also drew people into the city centre."
Ms Lewiston is calling for an innovative and significant water feature, such as a waterfall, as well as more entertainment and a lunchtime program.
"City Place does not need to be bulldozed away, the CBD needs a good clean up with pressure washers, it needs a significant water feature and the empty shops need to be either filled or have large images of the region's attractions placed in the empty windows. It's not difficult and it need not cost a fortune."
Mr Wolf cafe owner Nick Roberts said he was against the venue being opened to traffic.
"It would be a real shame to open it up and a complete waste of resources," he said.
Cr Manning said it was important the city centre was revitalised.
"Council is about to undertake comprehensive community consultation on whether Lake St should be opened up to traffic or not, and we will take all the views of the community into account before making a final decision," he said.
Member for Cairns Gavin King'sproposal included opening up City Place and getting rid of buses.
The State Government has allocated $5 million towards the project.
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Action sought: Evelyne Lewiston has branded the City Place proposal as "ridiculous''.