Coun­cil seeks project money

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

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.

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