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Budget boost for community projects

Camp Reserve in Castlemaine.

Council has adopted the budget for 2021-2022 at its Ordinary Meeting on Tuesday 15 June 2021.

Wednesday 16 June 2021

Mount Alexander Shire Council has adopted a bigger-than-planned budget for 2021-2022 and will spend an extra $1.87 million, thanks to some additional funding from other governments.

Projects at Taradale and Chewton have been boosted, the proposed Castlemaine to Maryborough Rail Trail has been supported and a new pavilion and netball courts at Castlemaine’s Camp Reserve will be designed.

Council will also spend more on Natural Environment Officer staffing after Council formally adopted its $41.48 million budget last night, including an allocation of $11.98 million for capital works.

The additional spend follows strong community input in response to the draft $39.61 million budget released in April.

Funding injections from state and federal governments since then also mean Council will:

  • Allocate $1.3 million for two paths at Campbells Creek. One is to design and construct the 800 metre missing link of the Campbell’s Creek Walking and Cycling Trail to complete the entire 5km link to Castlemaine. The other is for a section of new footpath along Campbells Creek-Fryers Rd ($1.19 million from government grants).
  • Allocate $1.5 million for Stage 3 and 4 streetscape works in Guildford, Chewton and Newstead ($1.4 million from government grants).
  • Allocate $150,000 to upgrade Spring Street in Maldon.

Extra funding, allocated in response to community submissions to the draft budget, includes:

  • $30,000 for a detailed design to convert Taradale’s old tennis court facilities into a multi-use community space.
  • $6,000 to co-fund a Castlemaine to Maryborough Rail Trail feasibility study.
  • $32,500 to help the Chewton Pool Committee of Management meet legislative and regulatory obligations.
  • Funds to boost the Shire’s Natural Environment Officer to a full-time role.
  • An extra $320,000 (from $80,000) to design a new pavilion and netball courts at Camp Reserve in Castlemaine.

Mayor of Mount Alexander Shire Cr Tony Cordy said this was in addition to Council’s significant investment in projects to stem its greenhouse gas emissions, boosting recognition of the Dja Dja Wurrung’s links to the region, as well as meeting its commitments to maintain roads, bridges and other infrastructure, and its support for community services.

“Completing the section of the Campbells Creek-Castlemaine cycling and walking trail between Princess Street and the Honeycomb Road-Scott Court intersection in Campbells Creek is adding to our off-road, built trails between towns in the shire.

“This is a sign of things to come as we work to connect our towns across our shire,” Cr Cordy said.

“Our allocation to help fund the Castlemaine-Maryborough Rail Trail feasibility study also supports this.

“It follows work we have been doing with our neighbouring Central Goldfields Shire Council and the Victorian Government to advance what we know will be a significant health, tourism and economic development project for the shire.”

Cr Cordy said Council would draw on its own funds, plus Federal Roads to Recovery funds, to push ahead with plans to make Fogarty’s Gap Road safer, between Woodbrook and Leversha Roads, despite missing out on Federal Blackspot funding for that project.

Funds ($1.3 million) to upgrade the Froomes Road Bridge, near the Castlemaine Botanic Gardens, from one lane to two lanes were removed from the budget after Council voted in April not to go ahead with this project.

Some of that funding was redistributed across other projects including $150,000 for Council’s bridge design program taking that allocation to $200,000.

Meanwhile, Council is awaiting an engineering report on the Froomes Road bridge which will check for damage or structural distress to determine what further works can be undertaken to extend its life.

Cr Cordy said Council was impressed with the amount of community engagement and submissions in response to its draft budget announced in April.

“We received 23 written submissions from the public and were pleased that nine submitters spoke directly to Council at our Special Meeting, held for this purpose on May 25.

“What’s really pleasing is the standard of submissions. Community groups presented sound arguments, backed with well researched information and because we have secured funding from other levels of government since April we have been able to respond with funds in some instances.”

View Council’s budget for 2021/2022 at www.mountalexander.vic.gov.au/budget.

A display hard copy can be viewed at Council’s Service Centre in the Castlemaine Town Hall.

Image: Camp Reserve will see improvements following the adoption of Council’s 2021-2022 Budget, with funds allocated for the design of a new pavilion and netball courts.

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