New safety barriers at two Anzac Day marches will help protect people but come at a cost, the president of Bendigo District RSL branch says.
Peter Swandale was concerned other groups holding events in Bendigo's public places could face their own financial headaches finding the money for concrete barriers protecting people from cars.
He wanted a wider conversation about how groups in the community could fund heightened security arrangements, he said.
Anzac Day march routes have been redrawn because the branch learnt it would need concrete security barriers at Eaglehawk and Bendigo, Mr Swandale said.
Changes would likely be permanent unless the RSL could find new funding to cover costs.
The branch found out about the new requirements eight weeks ago and had scrambled to shorten the Bendigo route by several hundred metres.
"We just deal with what we have to do. I understand the City of Greater Bendigo has its rules adopted from Victoria Police," MR Swandale said.
"We all know it was inevitable because other councils are doing it. But it was difficult."
Veterans would this year start their march from the Town Hall instead of near to Bendigo TAFE.
The new route meant only six roads would need to be blocked with barriers, not the nine that would be required in scrapped plans, Mr Swandale said.
"My personal view is that safety comes first for any community event, but we have to be mindful of the costs associated with that."Peter Swandale
The barriers would be blocked off from 3am to 3pm.
It was not yet clear who would pay for the barriers in Bendigo, though the RSL had agreed to take responsibility for nearly 20 along the Eaglehawk route, Mr Swandale said.
He planned to meet this week with City of Greater Bendigo staff to confirm arrangements for Bendigo's barriers.
The council was already planning to deploy 140 concrete barriers for the Easter festival.
Some would be redeployed several days later Anzac Day, Mr Swandale said.
That would keep costs down in 2019 but the RSL would need to work out how to finance barriers in years when Easter did not fall so close to Anzac Day, he said.
Mr Swandale was not opposed to the barriers lining Anzac Day routes.
"My personal view is that safety comes first for any community event, but we have to be mindful of the costs associated with that," Mr Swandale said.
Mr Swandale hoped the RSL and council could meet in coming months to review ways to make the barriers more cost-effective.
Eaglehawk's route had also been modified, with marchers coming down Sailors Gully Road instead of the Loddon Valley Highway.
"We have no concerns about that change at all, because we feel it is a safer way of doing things," Mr Swandale said.
The Kangaroo Flat Anzac Day march would not need barriers, the council's manager of tourism and major events Terry Karamaloudis said.
The event would instead be classed as a rolling closure with council staff and traffic management contractors on hand to help out.
Kangaroo Flat RSL sub-branch president Craig Chilver said there would be a strong police presence at the event to help manage streets as they were blocked off.
"Events like the Bendigo Easter Festival, Anzac Day, Bendigo Fun Run, Bendigo Blues and Roots Music Festival, Australia Day at Lake Weeroona, Dahlia and Arts Festival, and Mother's Day Classic that all take place in open public spaces are all assessed against these (new) guidelines," Mr Karamaloudis said.
While the Bendigo march would be shorter, Mr Swandale was confident crowds would not be affected as most onlookers gathered towards the end of the route.
"It will push some people back towards the visitors' centre, but we didn't think it would be too much of an issue for the crowd," he said.
Have you signed up to the Bendigo Advertiser's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in central Victoria.