Former Premier Steve Bracks marked 10 years of Wendouree Station today - and said the time was ripe for Council to outline where it needs future investment.
Appearing alongside MP Juliana Addison for Wendouree Station's 10th birthday celebrations, he said expansion options should be explored.
The City of Ballarat probably should start with its general planning about where they would like things and where things should beFormer Premier Steve Bracks
"The current government will look at what sort of extra stations are here," he said. "The City of Ballarat probably should start with its general planning about where they would like things and where things should be."
Mr Bracks also cast some doubt on hopes for a Warrenheip station, envisaged as a park-and-ride station in Council plans.
"I am not sure if Warrenheip would be the right [new station]," he said. "I think most of the significant growth is happening west of here."
"That's a matter for the government," he added. "Those things should be discussed."
Mr Bracks also said that rejuvenating the regional rail network was his proudest achievement as premier - and that he first went public with the plans at Ballarat's Civic Hall in 1999 as he launched his premiership campaign.
The next priority, he said, was to increase service frequency in Ballarat, including boosting off-peak trains to every 40 minutes.
Ms Addison meanwhile, paid tribute to the people who made Wendouree Station happen. "We're really proud of this station. We're going to keep investing in rail... and try and encourage more people to use our great rail services."
State-funded works at Wendouree Station include building a new platform, track, overpass and 250 new car parks.
On the issue of network expansion, Ben Lever of the Ballarat Branch of the Public Transport Users Association said he also had reservations about Warrenheip proposals, a key plank of which would be the availability of car parking spaces. He said it would not solve underlying issues with congestion and would prefer stations that allow people to walk or cycle there.
John Hearsch of Rail Futures said Wendouree Station should absorb the growth in the western suburbs with feeder bus services. Warrenheip would cater for the lack of car parking in Ballarat, he suggested but said a new station would be a lower priority than making sure that Wendouree caters to immediate needs. Like Mr Lever, he strongly advocated encouraging cycling to stations.
Deputy Mayor Jim Rinaldi meanwhile said Warrenheip plans were one part of a "much bigger picture" and had been emphasised recently as it could form part of a rail link to Geelong.
The City of Ballarat Council launched a discussion paper on its regional rail network last week as part of its Ballarat Integrated Transport Plan. See https://mysay.ballarat.vic.gov.au/itp-trains to put your views on the city's rail priorities.
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