AC­TI­VAT­ING THE RIVER:

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Front Page - BY DEAN LAW­SON

An artist’s im­pres­sion from Horsham Ru­ral City Coun­cil shows how the banks of the Wim­mera River in Horsham might look as a re­sult of a Wim­mera River­front Ac­ti­va­tion Project. The coun­cil, which has re­served $842,500 in its pro­posed 2019-20 bud­get and is lob­by­ing state and fed­eral gov­ern­ments for $5-mil­lion, is con­sid­er­ing a raft of ideas sur­round­ing the plan. It is seek­ing com­mu­nity in­put but ideas al­ready in­clude a bank­side res­tau­rant and café, a ma­jor wa­ter fea­ture, new pedes­trian path­ways, board­walks, art­works and gar­dens de­vel­op­ment.

Amulti-mil­lion-dol­lar plan to ex­ploit the so­cio-eco­nomic ben­e­fits of the Wim­mera River in Horsham has $1.65-mil­lion in fed­eral Coali­tion sup­port.

But the money, which would rep­re­sent the foun­da­tion of a re­quired $5-mil­lion in gov­ern­ment in­vest­ment for the project, is likely to hinge on the re­sult of Satur­day’s Fed­eral Elec­tion.

Deputy Prime Min­is­ter and In­fra­struc­ture, Trans­port and Re­gional De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Michael Mccor­mack joined the Na­tion­als’ Mallee can­di­date Anne Web­ster in Horsham to an­nounce the pledge.

Mr Mccor­mack said dur­ing the river­bank an­nounce­ment at Horsham’s Sawyer Park there was a need to en­sure Horsham made the most of the river to at­tract in­vest­ment and vis­i­tors to the re­gion.

“When you re­vi­talise a river precinct, just like Swan Hill has, just like Mil­dura has, you at­tract vis­i­tors,” he said.

“Not only that, it also gives im­pe­tus to lo­cal busi­ness to in­vest more, it cre­ates jobs in the con­struc­tion of the re­vi­tal­i­sa­tion, the beau­ti­fi­ca­tion and then it cre­ates jobs be­cause small busi­nesses grow from this in­vest­ment,” he said.

The Horsham Cen­tral Ac­tiv­i­ties Dis­trict and River­front Precinct Re­vi­tal­i­sa­tion project is one of four key coun­cil projects de­signed to ‘trans­form Horsham’.

A key part of the project is ‘Wim­mera River­front Ac­ti­va­tion Works’, with early work pos­si­bly in­clud­ing a ‘River­front Plaza’. Con­cept plans are that the re­vamped precinct, east from Horsham Show­ground to East­gate Drive, would most likely fea­ture a res­tau­rant and a seven-day-a-week café to ser­vice the precinct.

Other de­vel­op­ments might also in­clude river­side board­walks, up­graded lights and signs, new pedes­trian path­ways, a wa­ter fea­ture, art­works and gar­den en­hance­ment.

Ideas are that the project has six stages, start­ing with the River­front Plaza and fol­lowed by a Fire­brace Street River Ar­rival plan.

The street plan might in­volve over­haul­ing the south end of Fire­brace Street to strengthen the con­nec­tion be­tween the heart of Horsham’s shop­ping precinct and the river.

Fu­ture work ideas in­clude im­prov­ing an in­ter­face of the city’s river­front car­a­van park, pedes­trian links to the cen­tral shop­ping area, pedes­trian and cy­cle paths along the river and a wa­ter­play at­trac­tion. The coun­cil has yet to for­malise plans.

Ms Web­ster said the an­nounce­ment was ex­cit­ing af­ter hav­ing many dis­cus­sions with Horsham mayor Mark Rad­ford and chief ex­ec­u­tive Sunil Bhalla.

“The Wim­mera River­front is Horsham’s best cen­tral nat­u­ral as­set and we want to make bet­ter use of it for res­i­dents, busi­nesses and vis­i­tors,” she said.

“I have fought so hard to se­cure fund­ing for this project.

“We need it for the fu­ture of this re­gion and look for­ward to see­ing it through to fruition.”

The visit by the Deputy Prime Min­is­ter, who joined Dr Web­ster, Cr Rad­ford and Vic­to­rian Mem­ber for Lowan Emma Kealy for the an­nounce­ment, at­tracted var­i­ous me­dia rep­re­sen­ta­tives, coun­cil of­fi­cials and guests as well as other Mallee can­di­dates.

RIVER MONEY: From left, Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Michael Mccor­mack, Na­tion­als can­di­date for Mallee Anne Web­ster and Vic­to­rian Mem­ber for Lowan Emma Kealy at Horsham’s Sawyer Park. Pic­ture: DEAN LAW­SON

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