Major Improvements Under Way in Newlands

18 June 2012

Newlands town centre is undergoing a transformation with the new supermarket well under way and work about to start on the upgrade of the adjacent Council-owned McMillan Court car park and mall area.

The improvements ­- a key part of the Newlands Centre Plan - will significantly improve the look and feel of the area and help revitalise the shopping centre.

The Newlands Centre Plan was developed over several years in consultation with the community and is a long-term vision for the area. Its aims include providing better quality public spaces and amenities, encouraging private sector investment and a greater range of shops and services, and getting more people to use the area's shops and community facilities.

The Council's Built Environment Portfolio Leader, Councillor Iona Pannett, says when the New World supermarket is finished later in the year, locals will once again be able to do their shopping in their own neighbourhood if they want to.

"The suburb has been without a supermarket for many years so these are very positive changes - not just for Newlands but Woodridge and Paparangi too."

The Council went through a road-stopping process in 2010/11 so it could sell part of the car park to Foodstuffs, which wanted the extra land to provide a large enough site for the supermarket. The sale proceeds are part-funding the $1 million upgrade of the Council-owned car park and adjacent public space areas, which is expected to get under way in late June.

The work is expected to take about five months and be finished towards the end of the year.

As well as being more level and better laid out, the new-look car park will have an attractive courtyard area next to the supermarket entrance, more trees and native plants, better lighting, new seats, bike racks and public toilets, and terraced gardens at the Bracken Road entry.

The mall improvements - which will happen once the car park is well under way - include new lights, paving and landscaping. The old wooden canopy near the play area will be removed to make it lighter and safer, and to provide a clearer link through to Stewart Drive.

Substantial earthworks are required to make the car park more level and there will be some changes to where people can park as the work happens.

Cr Pannett says there is already a lot going on in the area with the supermarket construction and the work on the car park will add to that.

"It's not possible to make changes like this without some noise and inconvenience but we'll be doing the work in stages and liaising closely with the contractors working on the supermarket to minimise disruption.

"We hope residents and business operators will see the benefits and bear with us over the next few months while we get the work done," she says.

"Our contractors will be making sure that people can still get to all shops and businesses, but detours will be in place at times."