Treeline Lurline has moved a step closer to reality with the appointment of the urban design firm for the major streetscaping project.
Civille landscape and engineering consultancy was approved as the lead designer by council at its meeting on March 28.
Civille's $289,130 tender will be funded from the $4 million bushfire recovery grant awarded to the Katoomba Chamber of Commerce & Community.
The first stage would see power lines put underground and an avenue of trees planted along Lurline Street from Waratah to Merriwa streets (effectively from the Clarendon to the RSL Club).
Leura architect and landscape architect, Ron Powell, addressed the council meeting, giving a potted history of the project.
"I have had a seven-year involvement with project since council engaged me and a colleague to prepare tree planting proposals for the RSL block," he said.
They concluded, as did council staff, that tree planting couldn't be undertaken as a stand alone exercise because of the extensive underground services in footpaths on both sides of the street.
"Further, overhead wires posed a constraint to trees growing to the proportions needed to achieve an avenue effect befitting this most significant gateway in the whole of the Blue Mountains," Mr Powell said, quoting the description from a 1995 consultant's report.
So Treeline Lurline was set up under the auspices of the Katoomba Chamber. The group won the $4 million federal grant last year, allowing work to start in earnest.
Council is managing the project in collaboration with the Chamber.
Local arborist Jessica Lawn, who is chair of the Chamber's steering committee, said: "We are thrilled to have Civille's highly skilled and innovative team on board for this legacy project to transform the heart of Katoomba."
Council's manager for the project, Mark Liebman, said that Civille will prepare concept designs for the entire seven-block refurbishment and tree planting with underground power.
Public consultation on the designs, including options for the street trees, is scheduled for spring this year.
"We hope for wide community engagement with the designs," Mr Liebman said.
The Chamber's grant also includes new paving, street furniture, cycleway, gardens, artworks and heritage interpretation for the first stage.
Mr Liebman said that following further public consultation next year on detailed designs, construction would be completed in 2025.
Katoomba Chamber president, Mark Jarvis, said: "Our community-driven collaboration with the council and federal government is setting a new benchmark for sustainable streetscaping.
"When the Treeline Lurline project is completed, the Blue Mountains' most famous destination at Echo Point will have the spectacular gateway it deserves."
Bendigo Upper Mountains Community Bank is a sponsor of the project. The National Trust Blue Mountains Branch and Blue Mountains Tourism are community partners.
For more information, see treelinelurline.org.