Shepparton Chamber of Commerce president John Anderson says there is limited time to change Shepparton's Maude St mall redevelopment plan before Greater Shepparton City Council goes into election mode.
Mr Anderson said if the chamber's proposed changes were not decided on during the council's July meeting at the latest, the council would not be in a position to make big financial decisions on the mall before elections in October.
“If it’s delayed too many months, there's a period of time where they go into caretaker mode before elections where they shouldn't make expensive decisions,” he said.
“If it’s left until August or September, they’d be in caretaker mode.
“Once you have a new council, they need to be trained and have time to sift through the relevant information which would delay an outcome for the mall further.”
The council is currently part way through a mall design contract with contractor Group GSA.
Council chief executive officer Peter Harriott said the aim of the contract was to have a detailed design completed by September.
“There has been a good interest in the latest round of Maude Street Mall consultation,” he said.
“The Maude Street Mall continues to attract different views on how to proceed.
“Council is currently considering the merits of all the submissions and will receive a report on the consultation outcome and recommendations for progressing to the next stage as soon as possible.”
A majority of traders in the Maude St Mall precinct and surrounds support the chamber's proposal, which includes a community hub under the Telstra tower, slow-moving traffic and no removal of trees.
It is widely accepted by traders that the chamber's plan addresses key concerns about the council-endorsed GSA plan, which include avoiding the destruction of existing trees, the unsafe exit of traffic past the cinema in Stewart St and a sterile parking area at the High St end of the mall.
Mr Anderson said he hoped the same council who moved the Option 4 design would move chamber's proposed changes for the sake of the climate emergency, safety and the inclusion of a community hub.
“If Shepparton can get this right, other communities will be looking at what they can do with revitalizing areas,” he said.
“They'll be looking at us as a model.”