A NEW township plan for Heathcote will focus on bringing services, facilities and infrastructure required for the town to accommodate its growing population.
City of Greater Bendigo councillors approved the plan at the July council meeting last week.
Council's senior strategic planner Andrew Cockerall said the growth of Heathcote was stronger that council predicted meaning the township plan was necessary.
"Heathcote has been growing pretty strongly over the last eight or nine years," he said.
"On average, 20 new houses a year have gone up there, which is above what we forecast to happen.
"The idea behind (the township plan) was to look at how Heathcote can grow in the future and what (is) required to support that growth."
Mr Cockerall said there was a lot of community feedback during the development of the plan with infrastructure issues a concern for residents.
"There was a lot of concern around the safety along High Street, particularly through town centre," he said.
"So some recommendations in the plan are to extend the 50km/h zone to past the IGA that has just been built and looking at pedestrian safety crossings in High Street."
"The average age of a resident in Bendigo is 39, in Heathcote its 53. It's an older community, so making sure it's safe for older people to get around town (is important)."
Mr Cockerall said there had also been a number of younger families move to the area.
"If you asked me two years ago, I would have said mostly retirees (are moving there) but certainly I think younger families are relocating there.
"One of exciting things is having a new (earlier learning centre) out there and from discussions we have had with the schools, they are seeing strong levels of enrolment."
But the potential of a high school in Heathcote was unlikely, Mr Cockerall said.
"I don't think Heathcote is ever going to have the population to sustain a high school," he said. "In terms of the two primary schools, both have got the room in their campuses to grow as they need to."
The new township plan would also see the establishment of a township committee to help provide more information about council projects to the community.
"One of biggest recommendations was to establish a Heathcote Township Committee," Mr Cockerall said.
"That committee would look at how the township plan is being implemented and also be a forum where council can share information about upcoming projects.
"It's about trying to share information with the community. That committee would be our conduit into the community.
"Everyone is very positive about what's in store for Heathcote in the future."
With the success in adopting the Heathcote Township Plan, Mr Cockerall said similar plans in Elmore and Goornong would be developed next year.
"In the new year, we are starting (township plans) for Goornong and Elmore," he said. "At the moment we are pulling together preliminary information but it's something that won't commence until early next year.
"Heathcote is set up as a model we know works and we'll certainly follow that where we can."
To read the Heathcote Township Plan in full click here.
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