A vision of a rebuilt retail sector on Cobargo's main street, devastated in the New Year's Eve bushfire, has been presented to council.
The Cobargo Quaama Business Recovery Group (CQBR), a not-for-profit that represents around 70 businesses in its district formed after the New Year's Eve bushfire, provided an update on its plans to Bega Valley Shire Council last month.
In the presentation, and later to Australian Community Media, the group's vice-chairman John Walters stated their key objectives are to rebuild the retail buildings lost in the town's high street and re-imagine the area as a desirable place to live, work, shop and visit.
Read more: $86million for bushfire hit industries
Pro bono, renowned Australian architect Philip Cox has provided a range of initial conceptual options for the rebuild of Cobargo's retail sector.
Mr Walters said it was worth pointing out CQBR is only at a conceptual vision planning stage, detailed plans have not yet been produced as that will begin once the group has or is confident of securing funding for the Cobargo Rebuild Plan.
The planning process will involve extensive community consultation.
CQBR found it was impractical to rebuild an exact replica of the main street's buildings lost in the fire, due to modern building standards, Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) ratings, and that buildings need to be commercially viable for their owners.
"There's no point in rebuilding buildings that were already proving to be non-viable commercially because of their size and capability," Mr Walters said.
But the aim is to have a design theme that is sympathetic to the historical streetscape and include buildings that have a mix of commercial and residential space.
The "jewel in the crown" of the plans is a proposed new community complex on the western side of the street which could include a regional visitor information centre, several compatible community attractions, kiosk and an open exhibition space.
"We believe this can become the anchor project to elevate Cobargo's position on the map," Mr Walters said.
The complex would be adjacent to and would work in conjunction with the proposed Bushfire Resilience Centre (Museum).
CQBR's next steps are to continue consultation with the community and incorporate feedback into the draft Cobargo Rebuild Plan Funding Submission.
"We are working with other community groups that have worthwhile recovery projects to incorporate into the funding submission," Mr Walters said.
He hoped to have the submission ready for community consultation in six to eight weeks.
Mr Cox has made many contributions to architecture in Bermagui, having designed the Fishermen's Wharf for the Fishing Coop, the Sound Shell for Four Winds and redesigned the town's Woolworths with support from Bega Valley Shire Council.
The story Cobargo's main street reborn: Vision of rebuilt retail sector presented to council first appeared on Bega District News.