THE mayors of Ballarat and Melton are being urged to “put their hands in their pockets” and support Moorabool’s border towns.
Moorabool mayor Paul Tatchell, who believes his shire is “picking up the tab” too often, wants to see greater co-operation between neighbouring municipalities – especially on roads and infrastructure.
Examples of border towns are Gordon, Buninyong, Elaine and Dunnstown, which are near Ballarat, and Hopetoun Park, Parwan and Coimadai, which border Melton.
“We spend money on areas bordering Ballarat and Melton and the residents use our roads, facilities and recreation reserves but then see themselves as part of other shires and do their shopping and socialising there,” Cr Tatchell said.
Ballarat mayor Joshua Morris said he was keen to develop a collaborative relationship with bordering municipalities, as many of their towns faced similar issues.
But he said people “crossing borders’’ was a positive for the region.
“It means people are not having to go all the way to Melbourne, as we’ve become a true regional capital and have the critical mass needed for the bigger things such as universities and cancer centres.”
Elaine resident Shane Dunne said his family travelled to Ballarat for shopping and education because it was geographically closer.
“We’re in the shire, but we don’t have much to do with Bacchus Marsh or Ballan, and I know this is the case for many in Elaine,” he said. “We’re definitely in the right shire and identify with Moorabool, but it’s so big and even our local policeman is 30 minutes away.”
Hopetoun Park resident Wayne Quilliam said many residents felt the area was like a twilight zone.
“We go to Melton or Bacchus Marsh to shop or do chores, then we come back to our little enclave,” he said.
“We’re our own community, distinct from both, and I think more effort needs to be made to engage us with shire culture.”