A $20,000 state government grant to help Hepburn Shire map out strategic plans for Clunes, Creswick, Daylesford, Glenlyon and Trentham has been described as "disappointing" by the municipality's mayor.
Hepburn Shire mayor Cr Lesley Hewitt said the funds, which were announced this month as part of the state government's Streamlining For Growth program, were a fraction of what was needed.
"We've just done our planning scheme review," she told The Courier. "We did apply for $200,000 to undertake the strategic work that was identified as critical for our five townships.
"We have received $20,000 which will go towards that.
"We would have hoped and expected a bit more because there is quite a bit of work that needs to be done."
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Cr Hewitt, who was installed as mayor in November, said the work would cost Hepburn Shire around $500,000, and the organisation would need to find the funds elsewhere.
The state government announcement said the funding would help fund "a land supply and demand analysis ... to inform the structure plans for Hepburn Shire's five main townships."
Cr Hewitt said the strategic planning was essential to carry out so there was broad understanding across the shire of what the direction the different townships would take.
"It's about what kind of land use we want, where growth is going to occur, what our residents want for their townships."
"All of that will underpin our planning scheme so that we've got very clear structure and strategic work to know where that development should be."
"We have to be really careful about where development occurs."
In the same tranche of funding, the City of Ballarat will receive a $160,000 injection as a catalyst to develop the old Latrobe Street saleyards site in Alfredton, as well as the surrounding area.
The saleyards site has not been used since it closed in October 2018.
There was also a $115,000 allocation to Moorabool Shire Council to help its Bacchus Marsh Town Centre Structure plan, designed to give the area "a planning framework to accommodate the significant growth".
Cr Hewitt said the Hepburn Shire council was seeking other avenues for funding to make up the shortfall. "As a small rural council, budgets are tight, there is a small ratepayer base."
There were ongoing concerns about development, including agricultural subdivisions, she said - and more analysis was needed on Indigenous heritage too.
"It's work we're going to have to do and find the money for," she said.
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