Dreams of a tree-lined boulevard

Supporters: Some of the crew who hope to receive a grant to begin the Treeline Lurline project along the main route to Echo Point in Katoomba. Artwork on the banner is by David Wardman.
Supporters: Some of the crew who hope to receive a grant to begin the Treeline Lurline project along the main route to Echo Point in Katoomba. Artwork on the banner is by David Wardman.

Large street trees may soon form part of a spectacular boulevard down Lurline Street to improve Katoomba's bushfire resilience.

The Treeline Lurline group of residents and community organisations is submitting a Bushfire Local Economic Recovery (BLER) grant application for the multi-million dollar project.

The Katoomba Chamber of Commerce and Community is auspicing the grant application.

Chamber president Mark Jarvis said "As the bushfires repeatedly prove, our reliance on national park attractions makes our tourism economy very vulnerable when the bush burns.

"We need to expand the cultural and heritage tourism in our City of the Arts so our economy is more bushfire resilient. Restoring Lurline as a tree-lined recreational boulevard linking the town centre with Echo Point will encourage visitors to explore Katoomba's many attractions."

Arborist and Lurline Street resident Jessica Lawn said: "A spectacular avenue of large trees and gardens with water fountains and seating will be an attraction in itself. It will shade and cool the street in summer, provide wildlife habitat, especially needed after bushfires, and expand carbon sink capacity."

She said that putting the power lines underground was the "big ticket item" for the project.

"It is critical for unhindered and healthy growth of the trees and will also reduce risks from overhead wiring close to the bush."

Mr Jarvis said the entire project will cost over $20 million.

"We are seeking a BLER grant to cover all design costs and to start undergrounding, construction and tree planting".

Horticulturist Cr Kerry Brown said: "This is a great community and council collaboration to facilitate slower more sustainable tourism and asset renewal."

She said that interpretative signage of the natural, indigenous and built heritage of the precinct are part of the plans.

"As recommended by council staff, there will also be deep trenching for the trees with stormwater harvesting and polishing to irrigate them."

Cr Kevin Schrieber said, "Lurline street is in desperate need of renewal. The drainage is struggling and the paving is breaking up. Everyone will benefit from this project."

The Treeline Lurline project is supported by the Katoomba Chamber of Commerce and Community, National Trust, Blue Mountains branch, Blue Mountains Association of Cultural and Heritage Organisations, Upper Mountains Arborists Alliance and Blue Mountains Tourism as well as businesses and residents such as Gundungurra and Darug elder Aunty Carol Cooper.

Architect and landscape architect Ron Powell, quantity surveyor Matt Turner, sustainability engineer Mark Liebman and planner Brad Carmady have all given pro bono assistance with technical drawings and costings for the grant application.

Architectural illustrator Dave Wardman donated watercolour visions of a restored Lurline Street and Bendigo Bank has committed up to $25,000 with immediate sponsorship of $10,000 to assist with technical reports in the grant application.