A new skatepark in Snake Valley is almost board-ready, following years of community work and consultation.
Built on a rare and available strip of public land, the skatepark is part of a larger public domain, the result of years of work by dedicated locals who were determined to create a living public space.
"Our vision is to provide a parkspace for use by all members of the community, that is integrated into the existing landscape, in harmony with the heritage and origins of the town, and the needs of broader social development into the future," wrote the Snake Valley Progress Association in 2015.
Called a 'Linear Park', the space incorporates not only a skate park, but plans for a multi-use art space available for performance and music, walking paths, a BMX area, ponds, sculptures and a visitors' centre.
The park is the result of a close collaboration between the Pyrenees Shire Council and the original planners and stakeholders.
One of those stakeholders was Clayton Keefe, who says the idea for the park grew from initial conversations held at the local primary school.
"In 2015 we had an organisation (now replaced by another one) called the Snake Valley Progress Network, and there was a meeting held at the local primary school," Mr Keefe said.
"People came in, gave their ideas about what would be ideal, or what their suggestions would be, for a community facility, with a skatepark as the original sort of theme - but we were open to other suggestions as well."
Building on the desires of locals to see something built which would benefit the community in the long-term, consultations were then undertaken with council over two years.
A parcel of land was eventually chosen - a process made difficult, Mr Keefe says, by the lack of public space available for development in the area.
"The majority of land in the area is privately owned; it's just the nature of the way the area evolved," he says.
"There is wetland reserve called Mag Dam managed by DELWP, so obviously that was a no-go area; and the rest was very much owned privately.
"But there was a strip of land that runs north of town and west of the road, that is the only public land nearby. Part of that, halfway up towards where the old bluestone Anglican or Uniting church is, are pine trees laid out nicely in a memorial for World War One and World War Two with a little monument in a place where people gather on ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day."
Pyrenees Shire Council identified the area as suitable for the development of a community use plan and engaged Bricolage Design, founded by landscape architect and teacher Elizabeth Cummins, to coordinate the project.
Even as the Snake Valley Progress Network dissolved, Mr Keefe says, the council pushed ahead, realising the area's demographics limited the kind of fundraising required.
"They essentially engaged their own people to seek grants and do the fundraising, to find the money."
Ensuring Snake Valley youth were invested in the development was a priority from the start as well, Clayton Keefe says.
"Initially, at the first very first meeting, there were people from the school community, including the young people, and then at the meetings that we held young people in particular were well represented," he said.
Workshops were continually worked through, taking the problems of logistics and liabilities into consideration, and a skatepark design specialist came onto the project.
"I'd be going down there and taking photos of what was going on, and the guys on the job told me that was all they do. They employ mainly skaters who are also concreters and builders and stuff. They're fantastic. I watched them pouring and shaping the bowl, which is the hardest part."
For a project which involved such a high degree of cooperation between the stakeholders, the community and the council auspicing the development, Mr Keefe says he was thrilled with the outcome.
"I couldn't be more happy with Pyrenees Shire in the way they went about it," he said.
"They consulted. Often you get people saying 'council spend money and waste money on consultation', but the same people might whinge about that if they weren't consulted, you know?
"There was minimal opposition to the project, and I assume the objections were dealt with correctly by council."
As the park nears completion - just a few weeks away - Mr Keefe reflects on the changes which have taken place in the five years it's taken to get the project to completion.
"I was thinking about some of the kids from 2015 who were at the local school and were keen for a skate park - well they're probably 20 now, driving a car, working in Ballarat.
"Council have got to finish the kerbs and channels, the parking, pedestrian crossing, and landscaping before they would open it, I imagine," Mr Keefe said.
"I'm looking forward to seeing it full of skaters."