GET ready to have your say on what should be done to beautify High Street and the rest of the Wauchope CBD.
As detailed in last week's Gazette, the company John Mongard Landscape Architects has been commissioned to gather residents' ideas for an urban design concept plan.
Mr Mongard and colleague Jacqueline Ratcliffe from the Brisbane-based firm - which has a long track record in such projects - will start work on their task today.
In a phone interview Mr Mongard told the Gazette they had run between 40 and 50 similar consultation processes across the country.
"The idea is to provide a forum for everyone to have a say, and do it in a way that they don't feel pressured," he said.
"People have the opportunity to come and chat to us at the Ideas Shop one-on-one and can also hear what other people think at the community forums."
He and Ms Ratcliffe will be the ones drawing up the design plans as well as engaging in the consultation, which Mr Mongard said was a positive because it meant nothing would be lost in translation from consultation to outcome.
He encouraged people to come along with their ideas and good suggestions for how to make the town better.
"The study is focused on the main street and immediate off streets, so we are not here to discuss issues outside that, such as outlying subdivisions.
"We are focused on the main street, how to make it better and physical outcomes."
Both will be here throughout the consultation process, ensuring as many people as possible can have one-on-one discussions with them about what they would like to see happen.
Mr Mongard said he was aware of previous plans relating to the town centre.
"I understand there has been thinking over the years at different times about different things and controversy over certain things, traffic lights in particular," he said.
"I understand they were a bit of an issue in the community, from what I hear."
The architects will be available at a pop-up Ideas Shop in High Street, from today until June 1. They will also conduct two workshops at the Senior Citizens Centre. A community workshop will be held tonight from 6pm to 8pm and a retailers' workshop for business owners on Monday from 7am to 8.30am.
The urban design plan they draw up will pave the way for beautification and improvements to pedestrian safety, the streetscape and amenities such as footpaths, intersections and car parking.
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council has commissioned the plan.
The Ideas Shop will be located at Shop 2, 36 High Street, next to the Village Green Coffee House.
Once all feedback is collated, a detailed design and costing/staging plan will be developed by June 30. Those plans will then be discussed at the July council meeting before going on public exhibition.