Rail, airport and court precinct upgrades top priorities for Plan Greater Bendigo

TOP PRIORITIES: Roads, rail and Bendigo Airport have been identified as important infrastructure projects for local and state government to pursue by Bendigo Advertiser readers.
TOP PRIORITIES: Roads, rail and Bendigo Airport have been identified as important infrastructure projects for local and state government to pursue by Bendigo Advertiser readers.

Bendigo’s transport connectivity, both within the city and to the state’s metropolitan centre, have been identified as long-term priorities to be pursued by state and local government.

Responding to an online survey to Plan Greater Bendigo – a city development plan detailing a number of ‘transformational’ infrastructure projects designed to cater for a population of 200,000 by 2050 – Bendigo Advertiser readers prioritised the Bendigo Metro Rail project, development of Bendigo Airport and upgrading Bendigo Law Courts.

Readers also want to see an outer arterial road developed to ease traffic congestion expected with a growing population, along with dramatic improvement to local bicycle networks to help Bendigo become the bicycle capital of regional Australia.  

Plan Greater Bendigo – a collaborative project between the state government and the City of Greater Bendigo – lists 70 potential infrastructure projects the public are being asked to consider. 

Scroll down to read the draft plan and have your own say.

Transformational projects

Bendigo Metro Rail 

Four new train stations – Huntly, Lansell Square, Maiden Gully and Marong – along with the reopening of Golden Square Station have been advocated in the City of Greater Bendigo’s integrated transport strategy. 

To improve regional connections, the strategy proposes reopening a number of stations in rural townships including; Goornong, Raywood, Harcourt, Bridgewater and Inglewood.

The state government’s Bendigo Metro Rail Recommendations Report aspires for 20 minute peak and 40 minute inter peak services to and from Bendigo, Epsom, Eaglehawk and Kangaroo Flat.

Outer arterial road

Reduced traffic within urban Bendigo is a concern for residents, however according to a City of Greater Bendigo analysis of a bypass suggests it isn’t cost effective. 

According to the analysis, an unofficial bypass has developed on the Calder Alternate Highway from Ravenswood to Marong. 

Two projects listed in Plan Greater Bendigo suggest developing bypasses to the west and north of Marong Township, which would facilitate this traffic movement and the identification of a road alignment from Marong and north of the urban area to link with the Midland Highway north of Epsom.

Bendigo Law Courts

Safety and maintenance issues have been identified at Bendigo Law Courts. 

As part of its 15-year strategic plan, Court Services Victoria listed Bendigo as in need of an upgrade. 

There is potential to remain on the existing site, located at 71 Pall Mall and 3 William Vahland Place, but the preferred option is an alternative location within the city centre, according to Plan Greater Bendigo.

Major projects

Australia’s Regional Bicycle Capital 

Cycling infrastructure, and a cultural shift in attitudes towards shared-use roads are vital for this project to get off the ground. 

Separated lanes would require a significant overhaul in the design and engineering of the existing road networks, according to Plan Greater Bendigo. 

A bike path connecting La Trobe University Bendigo, the city centre and the railway station has been mooted. 

According to the City of Greater Bendigo, 53 per cent of students drive to campus – if half of them cycled on a dedicated path, it would reduce the number of cars on the road by 1000. 

Bendigo Botanic Gardens Master Plan

BEAUTY: Bendigo Botanic Gardens has been identified as a future priority by Bendigo Advertiser readers.

BEAUTY: Bendigo Botanic Gardens has been identified as a future priority by Bendigo Advertiser readers.

Bendigo Botanic Gardens Garden for the Future received $534,000 in council funding in its draft 2017/18 budget, a part of which will go towards building a visitor hub.

Privately-led projects

Great Stupa  

Peace: Buddhist nun the Venerable Damcho outside the Great Stupa of Universal Compassion, which was the subject of a $2.5 million state government funding injection in March. Picture: DARREN HOWE

Peace: Buddhist nun the Venerable Damcho outside the Great Stupa of Universal Compassion, which was the subject of a $2.5 million state government funding injection in March. Picture: DARREN HOWE

A $2.5 million state government funding injection to go towards the completion of Bendigo’s Great Stupa of Universal Compassion was announced in March.

Stupa chairman Ian Green said his organisation would now have to match the $2.5 million, with the stupa expected to be fully completed within about four years, and work also to begin on infrastructure requirements such as sewerage and electricity.

Conference Centre and Boutique Hotel

This project would see the development of a new conference centre and boutique hotel. 

According to Plan Greater Bendigo, the project would require private developer interest and may also require investment at the state or local level to determine feasibility and to help the project progress.

“There is the potential for tension with existing facilities and it would be important to ensure that this new venue offered an alternative to the existing offer,” the plan states.

Timeline

The City of Greater Bendigo received nearly 300 responses to their Plan Greater Bendigo survey and a number of written submissions, which will be collated and put before councillors at June’s council meeting.  

The first round of community consultation for the plan closed at the end of April, and a second round is expected in September-October. 

Council is hopeful of having a final plan prepared by January 2018.

Draft Plan Greater Bendigo summary brochure

Draft Plan Greater Bendigo discussion paper