Related: Marong plan in question
THE first draft of a plan that will aim to provide for Marong’s population to balloon to 8000 will be considered by City of Greater Bendigo councillors on Wednesday night.
The draft Marong Township Structure Plan sets out the land uses and development of the area and will be incorporated in the City of Greater Bendigo planning scheme.
Marong’s population has already grown from about 300 in 2011 to an estimated 900 people, and the report to council says the township is expected to reach 8000 residents in 25 to 30 years’ time.
The draft plan says future expansion of the township is restrained by several factors, among them a broiler farm to the west, possible highway bypasses to the north and west, and the proposed business park to the south-east.
Other challenges include areas along Bullock and Fletchers creeks being subject to flooding, heavily vegetated land in the north and south-east, constraints on the provision of reticulated water, and poorly drained land on Landrys Lane.
But the plan says opportunities to shape future development lie in the original layout of the town and certain existing features, the proposed bypasses and the reintroduction of passenger rail services.
It is proposed the township will grow predominantly to the east, with growth to the south not expected to extend further than one kilometre from the original boundary.
Recommendations outlined in the plan include the development of northern and western bypasses to remove traffic from the township, the reinstatement of the train station and passenger services, planning for the “appropriate provision of commercial services”, the development of the Marong Business Park, and improvements to recreation facilities and the High Street streetscape.
The draft plan outlines a two-stage planning and development process.
The first stage would see 500 to 600 more houses built over eight to 12 years.
The second would support expansion to the south and east, but the report to council says this stage would not begin until the western bypass was completed, and the northern bypass and passenger rail services were guaranteed.
Pending council approval, the draft will go out for public comment for seven weeks from March 20. Listening posts will be held at Marong Community Hall on March 26 from 2pm to 4pm, March 28 from 7pm to 8.30pm and April 30 from 2pm to 4pm.