LONG-time Gordon resident Fiona Williams says her hometown's loving, welcoming vibe was key to creating a safe place for residents and visitors to explore.
The town, just off the Western Freeway, has been growing in popularity as a place to live and play with eclectic shops, a new farm gate for fresh produce, pottery groups and a cafe serving a Middle Eastern fusion.
Ms Williams said a volunteer group had been working hard to improve the Gordon park and had a grant to renovate facilities, including the kitchen, for the community hub.
Gordon's central public park has been marked as a safe spot in YourGround, a Monash University-led collaboration for women and gender diverse people to pin-point where they feel safe or unsafe as a tool to guide public planning.
Main streets in neighbouring Moorabool Shire towns Mount Egerton and Ballan have also been marked as places where women feel safe walking.
But there was still a way to go for the region's country towns in terms of safety, mostly due to lighting concerns.
Moorabool mayor Tom Sullivan said safety considerations in regional towns was about far more than physical concerns. Cr Sullivan said small towns could be good places for people to feel safe in an emotional sense, too.
Some people want to get away from urban environments to clear their head and thoughts. To have a place they can go to get away from it all and to feel safe is important.Moorabool mayor Tom Sullivan
"Some people want to get away from urban environments to clear their head and thoughts. To have a place they can go to get away from it all and to feel safe is important," Cr Sullivan said.
"We do need connectivity but this also allows people to be on the job 24 hours a day. There is no down-time and the pressure, real or perceived, is there.
"Every individual is different but we all need a chance to recharge our batteries and I'm pleased people can find that in our towns."
In Ballarat, there is a changing perception of Victoria Park as a safe, neighbouring alternative to Lake Wendouree for running and walking.
YourGround respondent Libby marked Victoria Park as a safe spot with wide paths, not too crowded but buzzing enough.
"I used to be unsure of going to Vic Park because of bad stories I'd heard, however over the last few years, the vibe has improved dramatically," Libby wrote. "Plenty of people out walking their dogs, families playing and people jogging."
Respondent Kate marked Victoria Park as well-maintained and easy to find her way about with a good vibe.
Works are underway for a $2.5 million lighting project at Lake Wendouree in a bid to improve safety for all lake users in the hours after dusk and before dawn.
City of Ballarat confirmed this lighting project will also illuminate a link to connect the Lake Wendouree and Victoria Park precincts along Morrison Street to the intersection with Sturt and Russell streets. This will not take in any pedestrian paths in Victoria Park.
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