A plan to unite Miners Rest is closer to completion, as the township feels the strain of a booming population and a packed primary school.
A City of Ballarat township plan identified flood mitigation, the expansion of the Miners Rest Primary School and the need to build a town centre as priorities.
Miners Rest is undergoing rapid growth, with data collected by .id stating the combined Miners Rest and Mitchell Park area population will increase by 37 per cent by 2036.
Miners Rest Primary School principal Dale Power said the plan would give “township of Miners Rest the coverage it really needs”.
Since 2011, he said the number of pupils had tripled.
“There’s considerable growth into the future in the township. The school each year or so receives a new portable to support the growth in our catchment area,” he said.
“It was initially built in the 1850s for 150 students, so obviously doesn't cope with the numbers we’ve got now.”
The Labor state government promised to deliver a $4.5 million upgrade to Miners Rest Primary School in the 2018/19 state budget.
See how Miners Rest has grown in 15 years with this slider.
The Victorian Liberals committed to develop a new $15 million primary school in Miners Rest if elected, with three sites earmarked for possible development, including one adjacent to current buildings.
North Ward councillor Grant Tillett said the plan was imperative to “mould together” areas like the township, the Dowling Forest racecourse, and new developments which had not been included in the work.
“We need to make sure Miners Rest as we know it today marries into the Wyndham Park development to the east, which fronts onto Gillies Road,” he said.
A priority plan for Miners Rest released in July states the council plans to reduce flooding by building a bypass channel for the Burrumbeet Creek on Nelson Street, and “protect the land identified as flood prone from further development”.
It follows significant flooding that occurred in the township in 2011 and 2016.
Cr Tillett said in his view, the creek was “not coping with the demand being placed on it” from concentrated water flows being diverted into the creek.
“I’m disappointed that part of the concept plan that’s presented clearly identities development on flood-prone ground, but understand they’re doing it on the basis that engineering filling could make it safe,” he said.
“But whether that impacts on the function of the creek is not properly answered … you can’t keep tipping water into a bath and expect it not to flow over.”
The draft Miners Rest plan is open for consultation, with sessions on August 13.
More information at mysay.ballarat.vic.gov.au