A SMALL town on the Calder Highway is preparing itself economically for the future of hotter, longer summers.
Inglewood has a vision to green its centre to create cool spaces within the town in a bid to encourage more tourists to stop on their way through.
The plan began when a small business owner pointed out that visitors weren't stopping or staying in town with the longer periods of warmer weather.
The Inglewood Development and Tourism Committee decided to do something about it.
Committee secretary Wendy Murphy said the project was in its very early stages, but the committee hoped to plant trees and greenery to create cool green spaces in areas of unused land.
Many business verandas already have grape vines growing on them, an asset the committee hoped to build on.
But the roads and footpaths act as a heat-sink, absorbing the hot sun, she said.
Areas such as the old petrol station block, laneways housing parking and the swimming pool car park could all be greened, Mrs Murphy said.
Mrs Murphy said the aim was to create "just little areas where there's shade for people to stop".
"Talking to tourists they're tending not to stop in the smaller towns, they'll stop in the larger towns that they know or they'll travel right through to their destination," she said.
"Because the weather is becoming hotter, people just aren't stopping as much now ... it's just too hot to get out of the car. And it's lasting longer now. You're probably getting from October to March where it's too hot to stop."
Inglewood's weather is measured at the same station as Bendigo's, which this year recorded eight days above 40 degrees in January.
Average temperatures are set to rise by 0.6-1.3 degrees by 2030 in the Loddon Mallee region. They could rise by as much as 2.7 degrees by 2070 under a high emissions scenario.
Inglewood's main street is home to several antique stores and eateries.
Tourists stopping means money coming into small businesses, which stayed in the town.
Mrs Murphy said people stopping - even if they only spent $10 on a drink or a pie - was worth it, because it meant the shops could stay open.
"It does mean a lot for our businesses, for the community to stop," Mrs Murphy said.
"All the money that you spend in town stays in town, and generally goes back into the community."
Mrs Murphy said Inglewood had the opportunity to jump in on tourist developments in the region, such as the Rochester silo trail, and make itself a little town that everyone wanted to stop at.
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