The Adelaide City Council says it remains committed to a major redevelopment Victoria Square in order to make it more accessible, lively and people-focused.
However, the state opposition has cast doubt on the plan, which is dependent upon funding from government or commercial sponsorship, saying that the program may not happen for years because of a lack of money in state coffers to pay for it.
Initial details of the master plan, released by the council on the weekend, include a gentle-sloping lawn area to accommodate major events and recreational activities, with seating terraces, shaded walkways, landscaping and a water play feature. Also, there will be a huge central plaza between Grote and Wakefield Streets and the edges of the Square will be improved, creating a shared space for pedestrians and vehicles, space for outdoor dining and other activation opportunities such as mobile food vendors.
Later stages of the plan include a tram line and road reconfiguration, two arbours on the east and west of the square, and a southern garden.
Completion of the $95 million project, however, is dependent upon securing funding either from government or commercial sponsorship. Opposition urban development spokesman David Ridgway believes there will be no government funds available for many years as federal and state governments pull back on infrastructure spending.
Ridgway, who says the council should focus on the redevelopment of Rundle Mall Shopping Centre as its key priority, has expressed doubt about the future of the Victoria Square plan.
“I suspect this grand master plan will be just another dream that falls by the wayside…the financial cupboard is bare,” he says. “The two biggest hurdles are a lack of funding from both state and federal governments and a real lack of people in the city. If you look at Victoria Square today, nearly every building surrounding it is full of offices, which means it’s completely empty on weekends.”