WHAT sort of future town will Beaufort be like?
The Western Highway bypass is set to transform the township but a financial boost to town planning will help residents have a greater say in how this transformation could unfold.
A $30,000 grant from the Victorian Planning Authority will aid the Pyrenees Shire in a proactive growth and investment response.
This will largely help to create affordable housing and industrial growth while also promoting the town centre and tourism.
Pyrenees Shire chief executive officer Jim Nolan said the bypass would take away 7000 vehicles travelling through the centre of Beaufort each day and the town needed a multi-dimension strategy in place to be ready for this.
“In early stages the bypass is likely to have big impacts on business but we’re keen to work closely with local businesses so they are able to transform,” Mr Nolan said.
“This is a long-term planning project, understanding future projects help make Beaufort more a destination town rather than a highway town.
“One of the important aspects is prospects to become a very livable community for the residential population and we have a number of initiatives to enable this to happen.”
Mr Nolan said one part of the strategy project was studying anticipated population growth for Beaufort, particularly being 30 minutes from Ballarat and how this might tie in with forecast Ballarat growth.
This project is part of a wider Pyrenees planning project across a number of town in the shire.
“It will be useful to inform planning schemes so the (bypass) change becomes an enabler rather than impede development,” Mr Nolan said.
Community groups and leaders have already started embarking on a number of initiatives in readiness for the bypass.
A Beaufort Secondary College student delegation ran a workshop with the town’s residents and businesses on what could be done to prepare Beaufort for a bypass, including helping with technology and a greater online presence.
Pyrenees Art Council worked with Pyrenees Shire to introduce Harry the station master, a trial bollard showing the way to the popular Beaufort Art Trax Gallery by the station.
Beaufort Historical Society is redeveloping the Camp Hill track for recreational use.
Locals already want people to know Beaufort is a destination in its own right – and just a short train ride from Ballarat for tourists wanting to visit, or people considering a commute.
Mr Nolan said this strategy would help build on initiatives already in place so the shire and residents could start to feel what a future Beaufort might look and feel like.
But ultimately, he said, the strategy was to ensure Beaufort remained a great place to live, work and invest.