Councillor demands CBD be made a priority

A BLUNT knife could have cut through the tension in yesterday's council meeting.

Mayor Gail Sellers appeared less than impressed as councillor Karen Porter pushed to get a motion through calling for the revitalisation of Gladstone's struggling central business district.

Cr Porter said the local economy had moved into a new phase and businesses in the CBD needed an economically stable, comfortable and safe space which would attract people.

>> Gladstone's business centre empties out

She's proposing a "CBD activation program" that will make use of previously costed studies - including the CBD parking and traffic flow studies - and keep within existing budgets.

But getting the motion through wasn't easy.

Cr Sellers immediately called for the item to be pushed back to a private meeting between councillors before being endorsed publicly.

But Cr Porter was determined to have the project endorsed by the council, saying there was time for further development of specific details.

"This has already been discussed in three briefing meetings," Cr Porter said.

"And I am a little bit lost as to why we would take it back to another briefing meeting.

"My concern is that we will prepare a report, then it will go to a briefing and then it will get delayed again. I am asking for the decision to be made today."

Cr Sellers said she wanted the council to follow procedure.

She said a tangible outcome needed to be presented to ratepayers to justify any spending and moving forward with a CBD upgrade would cost millions of dollars.

"This would have to be something funded outside of local government because it's too expensive," Cr Sellers said.

But Cr Porter said there was enough funding already allocated to the CBD and unspent in the current 10-year-old Gladstone Plan.

The motion was passed. Council officers will now prepare a report on how the council can move forward with this project.

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