City of Launceston says benefits of social entrepreneur outweigh cost

The St John Street bus stops. Picture: Neil Richardson
The St John Street bus stops. Picture: Neil Richardson

The costs of employing a social entrepreneur to discuss ways to manage bus stop behaviour would be outweighed by the benefits, City of Launceston general manager Robert Dobrzynski says.

At Monday’s council meeting mayor Albert van Zetten and Alderman Ted Sands broke ranks with the majority of the council, calling for a redesign of the plans and potential relocation. Four aldermen did not attend the meeting.

The rest of the council agreed to continue targeting anti-social behavior and to stick with the original design endorsed in April.

The exact price for consultation by social entrepreneur and community expert Peter Kenyon could not be confirmed until the council settles on a brief for the project, Mr Dobrzynski said.

“We would expect the benefits gained from Mr Kenyon's work with people utilising the bus stops will be far more valuable in planning for our CBD,s future than any minimal, one-off cost outlay,” he said.

It was too early to speculate on what changes Mr Kenyon may suggest, according to the general manager, but he said the operational requirements for an efficient public transport were “complex”.

“Route planning is overseen by Metro Tasmania, and we will continue to discuss options with them to realise any improvements that can be made,” he said. “At this point the council has a clear policy position on the bus stop locations and redesign of the street.”

The work on St John Street “will likely” begin in the first half of 2018, to coincide with the redevelopment of the Brisbane Street Mall.

The mayor’s suggestion on Monday, to relocate the bus stops to near Civic Square, was objected to by St Andrews Church in 2015.

Public consultation at the same time showed divided opinions on the bus stops.

TIMELINE ON BUS STOP DEBATE

Feb 2014: McKenzie's push to relocate city bus stopsBusinesses keen for bus stop removal

June 2014: Metro not behind bus stop relocation

July 2014: Two-year timetable for city's bus service review

August 2014: Four proposed options to move Launceston's central business district bus stops

October 2014: Fresh debate on shifting bus stops

June 2015: Streets could go back to two ways

October 2015: Bus stop plan blocks church

December 2015: Changed traffic flow plan for Launceston & Sections of CBD streets to become two-way

April 2017: St John streetscape changes endorsed

June 2017: Business owners angry at council's bus stop plan & Mayor responds to bus stop concerns

July 2017: Premier weighs in on council's bus stop project

August 2017: Launceston mayor calls for a re-design of St John Street bus stops