Indigo Shire Council last night approved an innovative placemaking plan for Chiltern’s future to help guide its development over the next decade.
Chiltern residents have had input into the plan from the start of the process 12 months ago, with several updates of the plan reflecting strong community views.
Mayor Cr James Trenery said the community-centred project had captured the imagination of residents who had enthusiastically embraced their role in its development.
“We employed a placemaking officer 12 months ago to drive the project and transformed a vacant shop in the town’s main street into ‘Chiltern HQ’, which was the hub of the project and initial focus of our work with the community on what we called ‘Heritage Town, Bold Future’,” Cr Trenery said.
“Chiltern is ideally located on the Hume Freeway between Wodonga and Melbourne, it is right next door to a national park, it has natural gas, a railway station, heritage streetscapes and strong sense of community. These great strengths will help build population and drive development and growth through this placemaking plan.
“What the community has come up with are a number of key strategic projects including the development of industrial land for an industrial employment precinct, enhancing the entrance to Chiltern off the freeway, enhancing pathways and trails in and around the town, and improving Chiltern’s recreation facilities.
“Residents also highlighted the need for planning for children’s services, tourism development, activating the town’s business centre, rezoning to accommodate more lifestyle properties and developing the historic precinct. Some of these projects have already had some initial work done such as the design of an improved entrance to Chiltern off the freeway and some initial work on developing an industrial zone.”
Cr Trenery said key strategic projects would be subject to specific community engagement.
“What is abundantly clear from this placemaking project is that Chiltern residents love their town and are very keen to help drive its growth and attraction and are eager to work with Council to make this happen,” he said.
Cr Trenery said the 2016-17 Budget, which was also adopted last night, contains projects from the placemaking plan. These include:
- Upgrade to the Chiltern Recreation Reserve oval. The project is costed at $234,000 ( Council $100,000, remainder to be sourced from grants)
- Gateway project which is costed at $285,000 (Council $85,000, remainder to be sourced from grants)
- Feasibility study and design work to assess the merits of an integrated community hub. This is fully funded by Council at $60,000.
Cr Trenery said community ownership of the placemaking plan meant Chiltern could look forward to a ‘very bright and strong future’.