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

There is still time to change the location of the St John Street bus stop according to Launceston mayor Albert van Zetten, despite the majority of the council voting to reaffirm its original decision to endorse the redevelopment.

Aldermen van Zetten spoke out against the location of the bus stop at Monday’s council meeting after the council recieved a petition from retailers protesting the movement of the bus stops.

In April, the City of Launceston voted to relocate the St John Street bus stop 20 metres closer to the intersection of York Street.

But business owners in the area have told The Examiner the plan to build the stop in front of their stores was developed without consultation

Ald van Zetten told the council there was still time to change the design and the bus stops could be located closer to the Town Hall and Civic Square.

“I thought it would have been an opportunity to look at that option if the bus stops could be away from those shops,” he said,

“I would have thought it fits in well with all the services, its close to Service Tasmania, the library, the post office and if they have kids they can be playing in the new play area which will be there early next year.”

Ald Robin McKendrick, who moved the motion of support for the original proposal, said after two years council officers had come up with “an excellent design”.

“This has been two years for this council and our officers, the business community and the community [want] the bus stops within the CBD area,” he said.

“At the end of the day, this was a decision that was taken by this council. I know there has been some talk ... about deferring it, changing our mind, re-looking at it, but we’re going back over an issue that has taken two years to get to the position we are now.”

Ald McKendrick said that while there may be some social issues around the bus stops they were being investigated.

The council has engaged social entrepreneur Peter Kenyon to help find ways to create a better environment around the area.

Koorong bookshop owner Nicole Goodwin spoke on behalf of the retailers who have concerns about “antisocial behaviour”.

“It is a good part of the City Heart Project and I don’t think it’s a bad idea, the social issue is what is at heart and I recognise that your job might not be to deal with the social side of this issue,” she said.

“I would ask you to pursue [the social issue] as much as you can for the sake of City Heart and for St John Street and for business owners.”

Ald Ted Sands asked the council to defer the motion, with four members of the council away, but the vote failed.

The decision to confirm the design choices was supported by Aldermen McKendrick, Finlay, Alexander, Williams and Wood.

Ald Sands and Ald Van Zetten voted against the recommendation.