Council seeks project money
Northern Grampians Mayor Kevin Erwin has asked the Federal Government to provide money in its next budget to support infrastructure projects in the shire.
Cr Erwin made the call after meeting Deputy Prime Minister Michael Mccormack last week.
He said projects discussed at a government roundtable gathering in Warrnambool were crucial in growing opportunities for the region, and included community sporting facilities and roads projects.
“After meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister we expressed our disappointment that we missed out on funding for projects at Lord Nelson Park in St Arnaud and North Park in Stawell,” he said.
“These projects are vital and much needed for the Northern Grampians community to enjoy long into the future, especially when you consider the growth of female participation in sport and the need to build or upgrade female change room facilities.”
Mr Erwin said the council had worked closely with district communities and sporting clubs to develop strong project plans for both upgrades, which would lead to significant increases in sports participation, particularly among families, women, children and the elderly.
The council applied for money through the Federal Government’s Building Better Regions Fund and the Community Sport Infrastructure Grant Program.
“We recognise there were an overwhelming number of applications for those funding streams, but we’re still disappointed that our projects have been overlooked,” Cr Erwin said.
“We’ll now look towards the Federal Budget in the hope that there is some funding available for these projects.”
Another project discussed at the meeting was Heath Street Bridge in Halls Gap, considered by the council as an integral piece of the overall development of the town into an internationally recognised walking village.
Cr Erwin said construction of the bridge would address an issue of arterial traffic passing through Halls Gap’s village centre, instead directing traffic over a 60-kilometre bridge that would cross Stony Creek.
He said considering the Grampians region had considerable growth in domestic overnight spending and domestic length of stay last year, with Halls Gap playing a major role, upgrading the efficiency of road use in the village centre was critical.
The council has had some success in attracting federal funding, receiving $50,000 for a Stawell Gateway Enhancement Project: Strategic Plan.
The project is designed to support planning activity to identify ways of attracting more visitors to Stawell while capitalising on when dual-carriageway work on the Western Highway reaches the Wimmera city.
The project will involve stakeholder and community with an aim to create ‘realistic infrastructure design concepts and set out an implementation strategy that includes immediate, intermediate and long-term options’.
“Given Stawell is the gateway to the Grampians, this grant will help us create a plan to improve and enhance the entry into Stawell and hopefully draw traffic into the CBD to improve economic development,” Cr Erwin said.