A number of vital community projects have been funded in the Loddon Campaspe region as part of a state government Pick My Project initiative.
Sixteen projects totalling $2.17 million, including a silo art project in Colbinabbin, a new home for the Rochester sports museum, a Suicide Awareness and Prevention Program for the Bendigo area and disability accessible swimming pools in the Mount Alexander Shire, were announced on Tuesday.
The $30 million Pick My Project grants program asked the public to vote on which projects it would like to see for its community.
Almost 100,000 Victorians cast votes, with 237 projects to receive funding across the state.
Colbinabbin signalled its intention to join the silo art trail in August, and will receive $112,500 to paint the silos owned by Vic Feeds.
Vic Feeds office manager Carolyn Meyer said she was shocked the project received the highest amount of votes – 476 – in the region.
“It’s amazing really, we’re just that little dot on the map but there’s clearly a lot of interest,” she said.
“We start the real planning from now on and get to the nitty-gritty.”
Ms Meyer recently said the project would make the Colbinabbin store and post office viable.
“If these places are forced to close in the future, where would you get your mail or your milk from? These are things you take for granted until the day they’re gone,” she said.
Rochester Lions Club will receive $102,000 to develop a space in the town’s railway station to house an array of sporting memorabilia, most of which was donated by regional Victorian sports icon John Forbes.
Other successful projects announced for the Loddon Campaspe region, which encompasses Campaspe, Central Goldfields, City of Greater Bendigo, Loddon, Macedon Ranges and Mount Alexander Shire councils, include:
- Greens Lake Amenity Block, Corop ($198,000)
- Castlemaine Library improvements ($197,000)
- Work experience for 25 Castlemaine Secondary College (CSC) students in Harcourt at the Victorian Miniature Railway ($198,000)
- Earth Core: Outdoor education program and Indigenous culture workshops building resilient communities, Castlemaine ($94,000)
- Chewton pool solar heating program ($120,000)
Funding for hydraulic chair lifts for two swimming pools in the Mount Alexander Shire, one indoor pool in Castlemaine and one outdoor pool in Chewton ($36,000)
The Mount Alexander Shire was the beneficiary of six of the 16 projects in the region.
Bendigo West MP Maree Edwards said the grassroots driven initiative was important for smaller communities, referencing the Chewton pool solar heating program.
“That community fought to keep their pool open (in 2011) so the funding is great for them,” she said.
Numerous projects were unsuccessful. Over 2300 ideas were on the table across Victoria, with around 10 per cent of projects gaining funding.
Some community groups recently voiced frustration at the process and its competitiveness with one describing it as a “popularity contest”.
But Ms Edwards said the process had given the government, and herself, and indication of what projects mattered to particular communities.
“We have a road map of what our communities want. I have something to work toward,” she said.