Working together on a vision for the future

VISION: Councils are working together to lay out plans for the future, says Craig Niemann.

VISION: Councils are working together to lay out plans for the future, says Craig Niemann.

RELATED: Plans for growing Bendigo

TOWNS near Bendigo are starting to look at growing as a region, rather than as separate areas, City of Greater Bendigo chief executive Craig Niemann says.

Mr Niemann, who helped create the Loddon Mallee South Regional Growth Plan with staff from four other councils, said the councils were working together on population growth.

“I think it’s really important that we can connect all of those communities together,” he said.  

“So Bendigo obviously is a key regional place,  a lot of people come to Bendigo for different reasons, but the success of the region is really important to Bendigo as well.

“Small towns – the Castlemaines, the Maryboroughs, the Kynetons, the Gisbornes – are really important to the region as well.

“They do provide choice for people to live.

“A lot of them are well-connected to Melbourne as well.”

Mr Niemann said while Bendigo had to move to higher-density living, other areas faced challenges with population decline.

“There won’t be population growth in every community,” he said.

“As times change, things will change and we need to make sure we can prepare for that. The real bit about this is about choice, where people want to live, and providing them access to places like Bendigo and other services that makes their life attractive.”

To cater for that growth there needs to be changes to infrastructure, public transport and jobs, Mr Niemann said.

He said an additional 100,000 residents would require 40,000 new jobs.

“Our projected growth based on a 1.7 to 2 per cent increase goes up to 140,000 to 150,000 over the next 30-odd years,” Mr Niemann said.

“Going to that next level will challenge us because it will mean we will have to do things differently.

“There will be much higher density residential development that needs to take place in and around our key development areas and we’ll have to make sure we can accommodate that.” 

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