Major changes proposed to alter the face of Cooma

A major redesign of the entrances to Cooma is being proposed as part of a new plan set to revitalise the CBD and Centennial Park.

An avenue of trees, flags and welcome signs incorporating the new logo recently adopted by council would be built at each of the entrances to town.

It is one of the major features outlined in the Cooma Centennial Park and Sharp Street Draft Landscape Concept Plan and would be built near Apex Park, at the Cooma Back Creek on the southern end of town and at Cooma Creek on Bombala Street.

The plan includes a host of changes to vegetation, the band shell, street furniture and roundabouts aimed at improving the look of the town.

Footpaths are addressed in the plan but it is suggested a 'progressive' replacement of the footpaths using large format coloured concrete pavement- similar to the ones in front of Centennial Plaza- be undertaken, prioritising damaged areas.

High priority is given to a vegetation management plan for Centennial Park and Sharp Street, including the removal of more than eight trees in the Park deemed poor quality and of no landscape significance.

Mayor Dean Lynch said the plan highlighted the importance of having a consistent look and theme throughout the town.

"The biggest thing it highlights is that we need a uniform theme and to link all that in together," he said.

"There are designated entrances to Cooma and linkages in the CBD.

"I really like the designated bridge entrances potentially using our new logo."

Council has allocated $1.2 million to carry out work to enhance the CBD and park which could potentially include a new pedestrian bridge linking Norris Park with Massie Street, an analog clock in the main street on the front of the Visitors Information Centre, and upgrades to the band shell and a suggestion to use it as an outdoor cinema in summer.

The plan also suggests moving Rotary markets to the Massie Street carpark to 'minimise the potential damage to the park' and a review of the band shell as it had 'significant deficiencies in facilities and services'.

Three options are put forward for new roundabout treatments including a granite boulder fountain.

The fountain would freeze in winter, giving what the plan says, a 'Jack Frost' moment with the boulders surfaced in ice.

It would be "an ephemeral tourist attraction to celebrate 'Cold Cooma'" the plan states.

The plan also accounts for new street furniture, bins and picnic tables all using timber as well as granite troughs and planters to 'enhance the Sharp Street experience'.

Council is now calling for public submissions for the plan and Cr Lynch encouraged all residents to have their say.

"This plan, when adopted, will set the direction for upgrading the centre of Cooma over the next few years and I would like to see as many residents as possible comment on it," he said.

"It is only with input from the community that council is able to produce plans that reflect local opinion."

Cr Lynch said council would collate the submissions to be discussed at council and discuss them at the following council meeting. He said council would then hold a workshop to formulate a plan, prioritise the work to be done and a scope of work and produce a timeline.

The Concept Plan was developed in conjunction with dsb Landscape Architects.

Have your say

The Cooma Centennial Park and Sharp Street Draft Landscape Concept Plan is on display at the Cooma-Monaro Shire Council offices in Commissioner Street, the Monaro Regional Library and the Cooma Visitors' Centre as well as on council's website.

A public meeting will be held at 6pm on Thursday November 8 at Monaro Regional Library, where the plan will be discussed and further input received.

Public submissions will be accepted until Thursday November 15 2012, following which the plan and comments will be considered at the regular December 2012 meeting of Cooma-Monaro Shire Council.

At a glance- Centennial Park

- Undertake and implement a Vegetation Management Plan for the retention, removal and replacement of trees and implement the new tree arrangement for the park.

- Investigate design options for band shell upgrade and extend band shell edge and provide piazza steps and disability standard walkway to front edge for informal seating.

- Provide services necessary to allow use as outdoor cinema.

- Provide grassed seating area in front of band shell.

- Upgrade pavements with Prague and Rome segmental paving.

- Add central pathway with seating between bus shelter and band shell.

- Reconfigure paths at Massie Street edge to provide better pedestrian connection through Centennial Park and across the CBD.

- Make adjustments to Centennial Park edges and paths to facilitate Markets relocation to Massie Street carpark.

- Consistent use of similar new furniture. Replace with furniture from the materials palette.

- Replacement of timber bin enclosures with new bin enclosures.

At a glance- Sharp Street

- Install Sharp Street entrance features and flags at Cooma Creek bridge, Back Creek bridge and Apex Park and install Monaro Highway Cooma Creek bridge entrance treatment.

- Install root control barriers to street tree planting locations.

- Implement pavement strategy to progressively replace existing concrete footpaths with Prague and Rome cream and black large format coloured concrete segmental pavements. Prioritise this work to firstly address areas needing repair due to slab displacements. Implement black oxide coloured reinforced concrete driveways.

- Reduce signage clutter on poles and install Bicentennial lighting as artwork.

- Install new landscape surrounds to roundabouts with surface treatments, colour and lighting.

- Install up-lighting to Avenue of Flags and Cooma Monaro Time Walk mosaic walls.

- Provide an alternative location for the Bombala Street roundabout banner at the visitor information centre.

Tell us what you think

The Express would like to know what you think about the concept plan. Do you like the idea for the new entrances to town? What would you like to see completed first? Are there any ideas that haven't been included that you think should be done?

Send your thoughts in a letter to the editor to editor.cmexpress@ruralpress.com.

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