Despite the Covid-19 pain being felt by many industries across Ballarat, hundreds of new homes are in the pipeline as Lucas continues to expand, following developer Integra's latest application to council.
A 97 hectare, or 240 acre, block of land on the south-western corner of Cuthberts Road and Dyson Drive in Lucas will be divided into 1100 lots, part of the 'Lucas Grange' development.
The project is the next phase of the decades-long plan to create a new suburb west of Ballarat - land development director Nick Grylewicz said more than 2000 lots had been sold in the first stages.
"This adds further open space, wetlands and links," he said.
"We're three quarters of the way through that (first stage), and we've probably got three years to go.
"So this is getting planning approvals through for the new site, over a five to eight year time frame."
An Integra media release states Lucas Grange will include two large neighbourhood parks and three wetlands reserve areas, incorporating eight hectares, or 20 acres, of open space and parkland.
Ballarat's "largest" adventure playground will also be built at the Lucas central park, Mr Grylewicz added.
Despite the current coronavirus pandemic, construction is continuing on stage one while government regulations allow it, and Mr Grylewicz said he expected the appetite for new houses would remain strong when the crisis subsided.
"We're very fortunate there's such strong sales already in the system, we've already got six to 12 months work ahead of us, so we've provided certainty for our contractors to keep working for another 12 months, and for our staff - we need to support each other through unprecedented times," he said.
"We can continue business as usual, then if there's a bit of softening, once the economy settles back down again over the next six to 12 months, it'll continue through."
That's also good news for construction workers, he added, should the project get council approval.
The City of Ballarat is confident infrastructure will keep up with the booming population - the neighbouring suburbs of Alfredton and Delacombe were in the top 10 fastest growing areas in the state.
The construction of a shopping centre, police station, and other infrastructure, including upgrades to the Wendouree train station and intersection improvements, should help build the community, Mr Grylewicz added.
"We're seeing the second wave of investment comes through - across Lucas, in people's homes, there's close to 50 businesses now operating in this new suburb, like accountants," he said.
The City of Ballarat's infrastructure and environment director Terry Demeo said in a statement the land is currently in an urban growth zone.
"The Lucas and Ballarat West developments have continued to accelerate the pace at which they are delivered, however given the clear planning that the city has undertaken previously via the precinct planning process this development sits comfortably within the growth of Ballarat," he said, adding despite the current crisis, council will review the application "as soon as practicable".
Council would also continue to lobby for funding for the Ballarat Link Road stage two, which would extend south from Dyson Drive.
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"This development will create a significant additional traffic load on the road network of western Ballarat," he said.
Regional Roads Victoria has already selected the Dyson Drive and Ballarat-Carngham Road intersection, south of the proposed development, for upgrades, as part of its $60.8 million suite of roadworks.
"As Ballarat's population continues to grow, we're taking action to ensure that the city's arterial road network is equipped to handle that growth, both in terms of safety and capacity," western regional director Michael Bailey said in a statement.
Mr Grylewicz said it would be a "matter of time" before another high school was built in the area - Lucas has two primary schools already, including a state school that opened this year.
"As more people move out to this area, there'll be more demand," he said, though he noted it likely wouldn't be in the Lucas development area.
Mr Demeo said precinct structure plans for Lucas and Ballarat West provide for specific locations for primary and secondary school options.
"Council continues to advocate for the delivery of these schools," he said.
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