Future directions - From Mount Barker District Council, South Australia
Nestled in the Adelaide Hills is the Mount Barker district, characterised by a diverse range of historic main streets, which are not just for local convenience and community interaction, but also fundamental for our region’s growing tourism investment.
Local tourism is currently a $120 million industry and by 2020 is expected to grow to an estimated $180 million. A ‘Main Street’ can be the economic and social core of a community and investing in them is critical to realising their potential.
Mayor Ann Ferguson said, “Job creation is a boon for any community; there are over 1000 direct jobs in the tourism/visitor economy with a further 1700 estimated in indirect jobs.
“We live in an amazing part of the world and it is important we plan and provide sustainable employment and tourism opportunities through the revitalisation of our main streets.
“This economic and tourism ‘linchpin’ continues to drive a point of difference for our district.”
Of all the Main Streets in the Mount Barker district, the historic township of Hahndorf attracts the most attention. With over a million visitors a year, Hahndorf sits proudly amongst the best and most populated main streets in South Australia, possibly Australia.
Another main street worthy of note is Gawler Street in the state’s soon-to-be second largest city, Mount Barker, which is located half an hour from Adelaide. Its main street is about to receive significant investment by Council and local business to further improve what is already a stunning main street.
“We plan to extensively upgrade our main street (Gawler Street) to include a new entrance statement, improvements to pedestrian access, new street (and feature) lighting, new landscaping, creation of a laneway plaza, additional street trees and the installation of two additional parklets,” said Mayor Ferguson.
“The parklets have been a great success for local businesses, by taking over a couple of car parks they can now expand outdoor dining into the street and provide an appealing vista for visitors.”
Council’s focus on creating safe accessible and ‘liveable’ main streets has been recognised by the Heart Foundation in which Council was recently named state winner for its contribution to tackling heart disease.
“It is crucial we plan built environments to support communities to be active and socially connected to contribute to the health and wellbeing of our communities,” Mayor Ferguson added.
“In addition to physical upgrades of our main street, local musicians and artists are being encouraged to enliven the street with busker events and community-led artist installations are now becoming a local feature.
“All of these improvements will ensure Gawler Street continues to be ‘the place to be’, a place for our community to come together, where sustainable employment is generated and a place where tourists and visitors can experience what makes our place such an amazing place to live in!”