BENDIGO children have overwhelmingly voted in favour of a red dragon playground for Hargreaves Mall.
The dragon was one of three design options for the mall and received 71 per cent support from the 2565 children who voted on the plans.
If councillors accept the design, the playground will be operational before Easter next year.
Traders yesterday threw their support behind the playground and said it would probably help with sales.
“I absolutely love it,” Brown Sugar store manager Haylee Kennedy said.
“I think it would be a fantastic addition and it’s got the community talking about all the positive things happening down here.
“Something is definitely needed here and it was a great idea to get kids involved because they went home and talked about it with their families.”
Ms Kennedy said times had been tough for shop owners but that the mall was starting to become “activated”.
Before the Bounce owner Bob Morley noted the dragon represented the town’s history.
“It’s got to be a positive move,” he said.
“It’s been a long time coming and I don’t think people will believe it until they see it.
“There’s been a lot of talk but now they’re listening and taking it on board.
“It will definitely have a positive impact.”
Other traders, including Banjo’s Bakery Cafe manager Keshia Cliffard, said the playground would bring families into the mall.
“We’re looking forward to it,” she said.
“It will improve businesses here for sure.”
Council director community wellbeing Pauline Gardon said the next step was for a name to be chosen.
“This time we’ll include big people,” she said.
“There will be a lot of children, particularly the ones who voted, who are pretty anxious to see it and come in and play.”
Council’s acting manager recreation Lincoln Fitzgerald noted the public had been happy with the three designs put forward and said the playground would add colour and vibrancy to the mall.