More than 120 Buninyong residents squeezed into the Buninyong Town Hall on Tuesday night to help mould the town’s bright future.
A large community launch party kicked off the formal planning process for Buninyong’s Township Plan, which will help direct growth for the area and shine a light on which areas need to be improved.
Buninyong and District Community Association convener Linda Zibell said the event was driven by the community needing a “big refresh and wake up” on the long-awaited City of Ballarat initiative.
She said community discussions would no doubt centre around whether it was appropriate to have the Midland Highway flowing through the city’s centre, facilities for teenagers, how to attract and retain business and planning for Buninyong’s older population.
“It’s an amazing opportunity in my view … the power of actually seizing the moment and really putting forward where you want to town to go, it makes a huge difference.”
An online survey will launch through council’s website on Friday, and community consultation meetings will be open to the public to have their say in coming weeks.
Dr Zibell said the Imagine Buninyong! event held mid-2017, where the community initially shared their vision for the future, would underpin much of the upcoming discussion and final report.
City of Ballarat’s strategic planning manager Lisa Kendal said discussions had already begun around Buninyong’s unique heritage.
“We want to completely understand the place we’re planning for, and we don’t want our city to become a generic place that doesn’t have an identity,” she said.
“Through the process we’ll work with the community to establish a shared vision and look at what strategic actions and priorities need to be put in place to deliver that vision.”
It comes after City of Ballarat’s planning department has created township plans for varied areas around the municipality, including Learmonth and Cardigan Village. Community consultation on a Miners Rest plan is still under way.
City of Ballarat chief executive officer Justine Linley told the crowd her planning team was determined to “preserve the things” residents love, and be guided by them on what isn’t appropriate for the township.
“We always thought we’d be able to get to the formal part of the township plan a bit earlier than now,” she said. “I’m very pleased that this community shows such strength and interest … and there’s a brand new generation of people coming through too, and that interest is always something we should encourage.”