Why is Council undertaking this Project?

    The Nicholson Street streetscape is tired and is in need of renewal. The project will address existing hazards in the streetscape, bring it up to date with contemporary design standards and reinvigorate the main street of Orbost for the benefit of the community and visitors to the town.

    Why can’t the existing streetscape just be repaired?

    Repairing the existing surfaces does not overcome many of the fundamental problems associated with the existing surface grades and cross-fall. The cost of repairing the damaged footpaths, retaining walls and furniture does not represent good “value for money” for the Orbost community and the East Gippsland Shire.

    What were the key things from the community consultation phase that have been included in the design?

    • The need to address the safety hazards posed by the existing street trees and damaged footpaths.
    • Making it easier to cross the street.
    • The community appreciates the value of the trees in the streetscape, but does not like the safety hazard and mess that the existing oak trees create. A new planting strategy will address this.
    • More sheltered places to sit, rest, eat, socialise, and people watch within the street.
    • Clearer signage for parking.

    What are the major changes proposed within the streetscape?

    • Two new designated pedestrian crossings (non-signalised), to make it easier to cross the street.
    • A new footpath and retaining wall system that will reduce existing slip and trip hazards and make the street more pedestrian friendly.
    • A new approach to street tree planting that addresses many of the issues associated with the existing trees.
    • New seating, street furniture and pergola structure to provide shelter from sun, wind and rain.
    • Upgrades to Lind Lane.
    • Design works for Lawson Street are in progress, involving input from young people of the district.

    Why are most of the street trees being replaced?

    East Gippsland Shire and the Tract Consulting team understand that the trees are valued by the community and are part of the character of the main street. Unfortunately the current street trees, mostly Oaks, pose a number of problems including: the safety issues (trip and slip), their current size, the lack of space for them to continue to grow under power lines and verandahs, and the damage that has been done to the existing pavements. It does not make sense to redesign the streetscape around these trees, as the same problems will reoccur in time.

    Additionally the health of each tree along Nicholson Street has been assessed by the Tract Consulting team and the Shire's own arborist. This assessment has shown that very few of the trees are healthy enough to withstand the planned pavement works. It would be a failure of the
    streetscape renewal if the trees started dying soon after the works were complete. For this reason as well the decision has been made to replace the trees now as part of the works.

    Care has been taken in designing the new streetscape to ensure that trees remain an important feature of the street, with three levels of planting planned.

    Why has a new approach to street tree planting been adopted?

    The intention of the new planting approach is to provide planting which performs in both summer and winter seasons. Summer is the time when many visitors pass through Orbost on their way to the beach or coast.

    The new planting approach will provide:

    • Summer flowering and displays and dense shade.
    • A summer display that specifically supports the Christmas tree, markets and activities at that time of year.
    • An autumn display of leaf colour on the pedestrian edge of the footpath and a deciduous form that will provide shade in summer and sun in winter.
    • An evergreen framework of trees for year-round interest in the road environment, but a pedestrian environment that has solar access.
    • Special planting features in key locations.
    • Species that will perform well under Nicholson St conditions.
    • Tree planting will be supplement with pergolas structure within the pedestrian environment to provide further shade and shelter.

    When will the project commence and will it all be constructed at once?

    The project will commence construction after Easter 2017. The project will be staged to allow for
    funding applications and Council budgeting.

    How can the community provide feedback?

    If you would like to speak direct to the project team, please contact Strategic Project Planner, Sophie Beasley, 03 5153 9500 or feedback@egipps.vic.gov.au.