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The council is due to "note" the report, with its attached reports including a preliminary design for the project, the central business district’s accessibility, economic resilience, parking, a "George St public life survey" and a 3 Waters preliminary design report enabling works for the underground infrastructure work the council aims to capitalise on to make the changes.
However, the council has created a firestorm over the introduction of its temporary plans — a public health response to physical distancing measures due to Covid-19 — for George St.
These plans are being decried for a lack of public consultation and there are calls from several councillors to revisit the issue.
While the narrative of a "pedestrianisation by stealth" had entered the conversation over George St, Mr Drew said there was no council staff push for a car-free city centre and, further, as a council staff member he had no opinion on what would "make George St great".
"I will build whatever the community wants," he said.
"What I have learned through all of this is that we absolutely need to take retailers and the community along for the journey.
"It’s not ideological, it’s ... well, I have to do what council wants, but I’m reading all of these reports done by independents and that’s where they’re saying the best investment for the long-term of 30 to 80 years should be focused."
But in the "case for change", the council consultant First Retail notes George St and its surrounds are a "successful retail area" and a "vibrant public realm", but also that the "convenience" of "in-and-out" shopping enabled by car parking in front of shops was restricting "the economic potential" of the area.
Mr Drew referred more detailed questions to First Retail managing director Chris Wilkinson, but said the report suggested the need for "succession planning for retail".
"The demographic that want the park right outside the shop, that’s probably the baby-boomer demographic.
"But the younger generation, the ‘millenials’ or something, they want ‘experience’.
"They like the dining outside, the vibrancy.
"They go to the Octagon where there’s people and people dining outside, not to the Golden Centre block because they can park right outside," Mr Drew said.
Within the 20m roadway at present, 60% was intended for vehicles and 40% for pedestrians.
The consultants had suggested a shift to 25% vehicles and 75% pedestrians and public space.
If the council wanted to proceed with the concept, there would need to be an engagement plan, Mr Drew said.
And if the public agreed with the plan, the project could be shovel-ready in about a year’s time.
Through the engagement, "the design would evolve over the course of the year for the better", Mr Drew said.