Tuncurry’s magic makeover

Tuncurry 7 Day Makeover

Boats, barges & wharves now on Tuncurry’s main street.

It was an exhausting week but the feedback from everyone involved in Tuncurry’s 7-Day Makeover was that it was worth every moment.

(Article by Great Lakes Advocate 03 July 2019)

The previously drab-looking thoroughfare of Manning Street has been transformed into an eye-catching destination, with unique installations and attractions scattered all around the CBD.

MidCoast Council economic development officer, Robyn Brennan said the project was a resounding success. “The response from the community was more than we could ever have wished for,” she said. The amount of man-hours that went into it was astronomical.”

With a combined total of $52,000 put towards the project by local businesses and close to 200 volunteers lending a hand over the course of the week, the response from the community even surprised the Creative Communities team who were brought in to help co-ordinate the project.

Led by expert place-maker David Engwicht, Creative Communities has been helping communities around Australia and New Zealand transform their CBDs into engaging public spaces since 2001, and according to a spokesperson from the organisation, the scale of the Tuncurry makeover was by far the largest they’ve been involved in.

From the get-go it was always a positive thing.

Volunteers worked day and night from Monday, June 24 onwards, banding together in an effort to rejuvenate Manning Street and bring Tuncurry’s maritime heritage to the fore.

With boats, barges and wharves now adorning each street corner and a variety of other artistic and practical installations serving to catch the attentions of passersby, Ms Brennan said there was now good reason for people to stop and spend time in Tuncurry.

“We want people back visiting the area,” she said. “The more people, the more vibrancy.”

Forster Tuncurry Business Chamber secretary Maxine Calladine said the community spirit shown throughout the seven days was incredible and brought back memories of the 2000 Sydney Olympics, which she was also involved in.

“Just the pride from the community was amazing,” she said. “I’ve got no doubt in the businesses of Tuncurry. They’ll ensure the community grows.”

Perry’s Fruits and Vegetables’ employee Tara Hamilton, who volunteered her services throughout the week, believed the transformation was already having an effect, with the precinct a lot busier on Sunday than usual.

“There were kids playing in the boats and families everywhere,” she said. “We’re trying to keep the thing flowing and are still talking about what we can do so it doesn’t just stop from here.”

Apart from the physical space receiving a much-needed makeover, Ms Brennan believed one of the biggest benefits of the whole enterprise was that it put business-owners in communication with each other so they could work together to increase the vibrancy of the area.

With funds still left over, it will be up to them to decide what further improvements are made to the CBD.

Great Lakes Tackle owner Luke Austin said the project had already done a lot of what he’d hoped it would, and with the positive energy surrounding Manning Street, things should continue to improve from here.

“People are talking about Tuncurry,” he said. “The more people who want to stop in Tuncurry, the better it’ll be for the businesses and the community.”

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