BALLARAT is ready for a population surge over the next 20 years, says council.
But continued state and federal government contributions into building schools and transport connections are necessary if the city is to remain as liveable with the estimated population surge to come between now and 2036.
The release of a new Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) report highlights that Delacombe will be the suburb to experience the most growth in regional Victoria between now and 2036, an annual increase of 2.7 per cent.
Alfredton's population is also expected to more than double in the coming 17 years, with an average yearly growth of 2.2 per cent, making it the third highest growing suburb in the state that is away from Melbourne's outer fringe.
A City of Ballarat spokesperson said the population growth report was, as it had predicted and was a confirmation that planning was "accurate and well timed".
"The Ballarat Strategy is the strategic framework that guides our thinking and planning and has a 20 year horizon," the spokesperson said.
"Plans are in place for the population growth and all council lobbying over the past years has been based on this to support the future needs of our community.
"From the All Waste Interchange, BWEZ, the Link Road through to the Waste to Energy plant, recreational facilities upgrades, economic strategy and Bakery Hill Master Plan and the Latrobe Street Sale Yards Master Plan. All are designed to make Ballarat bigger, bolder, better."
Committee For Ballarat chief executive officer Michael Poulton said it was up to the community as a whole to decide what type of future it wants.
"It's important to emphasise integrated planning. It's not just council's responsibility, but the business community and the community as a whole to have a say," he said.
"This relates to sustainability, community development, renewable energies, recreation and green space among other items."
Mr Poulton said the growth predictions showed how important fast rail could be to opening up the regions.
"One of the big pieces of work around this report relates to the regions taking one million people out of the suburbs," he said.
"Fast rail is critical. Suddenly if you've got a 40 minute trip to the city from Ballarat, it will take pressure off the outer suburbs of Melbourne, the Rockbank's, Tarneit's of the world where you could be stuck in traffic for just as long as it takes to get from Ballarat."
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