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EXCLUSIVE: The Lords Place dilemma: Rip the Band-Aid off in one go, or peel it back slowly?

October 27, 2023

Lords Place. Copyright: Orange News Examiner.

By Peter Holmes

The Lords Place south redevelopment would be torn up over three consecutive Sundays and would include some street closures, according to a draft proposal sent by Orange City Council (OCC) to businesses and owners on the strip.

However businesses and owners are also being asked whether they would prefer to delay the reversal until January, “or some other month of your choosing”. Or have the whole thing done over four consecutive days.

The Orange News Examiner has obtained a copy of the letter.

“Good morning,” it began, “I am writing to you again as either a landowner or business owner of Lords Place ‘South’ as follow up to my emails on 9 October and 20th October.

“Again, I’m sure you know by now that Orange City Council voted on Tuesday 3 October to ‘reverse/reinstate’ much of the works in the street.

“Staff have worked up a reinstatement plan attached and suggested program would be as follows:

  • Subject to the engagement of an Asphalt Contractor complete works over three consecutive Sundays under full street closure.

  • Sunday 1 - Commence removal of all seating and handrails on dining decks (no street closure required);

  • Sunday 2 - Continue removal of all seating and decks as well as removing dining decks, shade structures and street furniture on the eastern side;

  • Sunday 3 - Complete removal of all dining decks, shade structures and street furniture on the western side. Followed by nightworks (Sunday/Monday for asphalt patching to reinstate the road pavement under the existing dining decks); and

  • Finally reinstate line marking for angled parking.”

The letter said that "in the interest of getting this completed as soon as practical" staff wanted to report to councillors at the first meeting in November (Tuesday November 6, 2023).

"To do this I request that you respond with your answer on timing below by no later than next Wednesday November 1st 2023 so we can report to Council in a coherent way.”

Recipients of the letter were then asked to respond to whether they: agreed “with Council’s proposed timing over three consecutive Sundays to commence as soon as practical”; preferred council to “complete this in one hit” over a Friday-Monday “as soon as practical”, or; wanted council “to delay the reinstatement to a quieter time of the year in January or some other month of your choosing”.

Councillor Kevin Duffy said he was “pleased that there has been movement at the station”.

Duffy voted against the project in October 2022, and is supporting businesses and the Orange Residents and Ratepayers Association in calling for an independent review of the Lords Place redevelopment.

The makeover was originally slated to cost $1.4 million, with $900,000 of council money and a $500,000 state grant.

The latest report had the cost at $1.58 million, increasing council’s contribution to $1.08 million, however there will be further costs associated with returning the street to as close as possible to what it was.

A story about our city ...

During the day Orange's Bowen Community Technology Centre offers a free service to those who mightn't have a computer, printer or internet access. They might help with a resume, or to contact a government agency. In the afternoon dozens of primary school kids descend on the centre to get stuck into their homework.

They also may not have access to technology at home. Education is crucial in preparing the next generation to face the modern world. Orange City Council kindly donates the building. The woman behind this valuable community service is Paula Townsend. When there is enough money in the kitty, she is paid minimum wage. When there is not, she pays herself nothing.

But she always turns up. Even in school holidays, just to make sure the kids stay on the straight and narrow and have somewhere to go. The stress of running a community centre on occasional grants and donations - mostly for equipment , office supplies and insurances, not a minimum wage - is considerable.

Paula has been doing this for years. The bucket has a hole in it and there is never enough water to fill it up. She is no pushover - these computers are for work, not games - but when you spend time at the centre, you see the love the kids have for her, and she for them.

When adults have access to computers, documents and printers - something many of us take for granted - their worlds can open up. When kids can learn and get their homework done, their worlds open up too.

If you or your business are willing to help Paula Townsend, please click on the link above.

- Peter Holmes,

Editor, The Orange News Examiner

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