Thursday, 13 May 2010

Victoria Square Adelaide

Victoria Square rebirth to fuel jobs, tourism boom
newsCouncil13 May 10 @ 12:01pm by Emily Charrison
HUB OF ACTIVITY: An events hub catering for 5000 people is planned for Victoria Square. Artwork supplied
REVITALISING Victoria Square will boost the precinct’s population and visitors by 20 per cent - and create up to 2300 jobs - a new study reveals.
The economic study obtained by the City Messenger has found the new-look square will generate significant economic, tourism and employment benefits for both the city and state.
It comes as City Council this week released detailed plans for the $100 million square overhaul, featuring a concert area, public gardens, big screen TV and giant arbours.

The study, carried out in February by council-commissioned consultants SGS Economics and Planning, compared the benefits of the project versus no redevelopment over the next 30 years.
Some of its key findings included:
* Annual visitors to the square will rise from 21 million now to 26 million;
* Permanent residents living near precinct will rise from 980 to 1170;
* Up to 2300 new jobs will be created by 2014 through the regeneration, boosting the state’s economy by up to $86 million a year at its peak;
* 10 per cent more people will come to SA just to visit the square;
* A 5 per cent growth in SA’s population because of the project.

The study, which also explored how the city could become more vibrant, concluded the project will generate “significant activity” in the state’s economy and create “significant jobs”.
Lord Mayor Michael Harbison said the findings showed the project would benefit the entire state, not just the CBD.
“We don’t just do these projects to feel good, we look at them very carefully for their economic effects,” he said.
“Because Victoria Square is in the heart of the city, there’s a very strong economic multiplier for the investment made in the square.”
Work on the project will begin in stages from mid next year, with the first phase involving an open space area for large events in the square’s northern end.
The council has set aside $24 million for the project in its 2010/11 draft budget, while the State Government has contributed $2 million for a final engineering and design study, due by December. The rest of the money is expected to come from State and Federal government grants, as well as private investors.
Public consultation began this week, ending on June 7, however the plan has already received early backing from Adelaide’s business community, including Central Market traders.

Central Market Traders Association spokesman Mark Gleeson said the overhaul would give the square a “really vibrant, European feel”.

Mr Gleeson, who runs Providore, said traders were pleased roads surrounding the square would not be closed other than on special events.

Property Council of Australia (SA branch) executive director Nathan Paine also praised the overhaul, but warned construction must start “immediately”.
“Adelaide needs this redevelopment to start quickly to avoid this becoming yet another potentially great plan only gathering dust on a bureaucrats shelf,” he said.
A public discussion on the masterplan will be held next Thursday (May 20) at Town Hall, from 11am to 2pm.
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