BENDIGO of the future will have more housing in the city centre, fewer surface level car parks, and potentially fewer heritage buildings.
That is, according to a snapshot of the draft Bendigo City Centre Plan to come before councillors during next week's meeting.
City staffers have recommended councillors endorse the plan for public display, giving residents the opportunity to have their say on the precinct's future.
Meanwhile, a report to councillors in the September meeting agenda has provided an insight into what to expect.
"Bendigo as a city needs to grow to thrive," the report states.
It highlights opportunities to incorporate more housing into the city centre, for those seeking "smaller, more cost-efficient products... within easy walking distance of existing services and facilities."
The report says current new release areas are delivering on only one part of the housing market, which is for those seeking large single dwellings.
"Both housing styles are important as it does provide choice and can reflect the needs of the family's life-cycle," it says.
"The key here is ensuring there are options for our community to choose from."
It makes the case for "a contemporary city with heritage foundations", in which a balance needs to be struck between heritage and the need for growth.
People will be encouraged to "park a little sooner and walk a little further," if possible, as part of the city's parking plans.
A fuller, 'contemporary' Bendigo city centre
THE City of Greater Bendigo will seek to walk a "fine but pragmatic line" between heritage and growth with its vision for Bendigo's city centre.
An insight into a draft plan, to go before council at its September meeting, suggests a more critical view of heritage buildings and areas is to come.
"The heritage value of the city centre should not be compromised or undermined by the retention of every building simply because they are old or nice," a report to councillors, included in next week's meeting agenda, states.
"Existing buildings will need to be considered in the context of the quality and quantity of already protected examples.
"In some circumstances it will be much more important to facilitate a good redevelopment to ensure that the city centre can continue to function well into the future, rather than lock up a site and put development pressure on more important properties. "
The report says economic considerations and the overall community benefit of developments need to be carefully considered, "just as heritage is".
"In saying this, we do need to take a conservative approach to heritage, as once it's gone, it's gone".
Story continues below September meeting agenda
It acknowledges the many key, high value heritage buildings and areas that "create the rich character for which Bendigo is valued", such as the law courts, the town hall and the Hotel Shamrock.
The report also looks forward to a time when the Bendigo CBD will contain new law courts, a $90 million GovHub and a partial redevelopment of the Bendigo TAFE site.
"Buildings of this scale will become more common," the report says.
It says large-scale buildings will need to have "high architectural quality to ensure they do not detract from the desired future of a compact, high amenity, pedestrian friendly, mixed use city."
Land use planning controls should be reviewed "to ensure the community has a city that meets [its] needs".
The report also mentions design guidelines that will feature in the draft plan, including a recommended building height of 20 metres in commercial, retail and mixed use precincts.
"However, this one mater will be considered with all other design guidelines to ensure the future built form continues to enhance the heritage of the area," it says.
A place to call home
The population of Greater Bendigo is expected to almost double in 31 years, to 200,000 people.
City staffers would like to see higher density housing available in the Bendigo city centre, providing more housing options and helping to limit urban sprawl.
"The opportunity with increasing density in one area such as the inner city can take pressure off other areas such as outer suburbs or low density high-value character areas," the report to councillors states.
It says a "more compact-type city" also offers more social opportunities for residents.
"Designing a high quality environment" is one of the draft plan's themes.
The report to councillors says "substantial detail" has been added under that theme, in recognition of its importance in determining a city's "vibe".
It says the "vibe" of public areas in the city centre becomes all the more important as the residential density increases, as the city is essentially the residents' backyard.
"The city centre public realm is highly valued and recognised for the standard it has set," the report states.
"Major improvements over the last 25 years in particular have made a big impact."
City staffers envisage car parking in centre of Bendigo will be consolidated over time, with strategic positioning of multi-deck car parks across the city recommended.
The report says surface level and at-grade car parking will be gradually converted into "more productive and higher-value uses that contribute to economic growth and success".
The city is investigating opportunities to build a new multi-deck car park in the Market Street precinct.
Such a project would help address parking needs near the Bendigo GovHub.
City staffers have also recommended "outdated" planning scheme requirements for on-site parking, land use change and flexibility of parking provision be addressed and parking be managed at a precinct level.
The report highlights the importance of safe, interesting and enjoyable streetscapes as it seeks to encourage people to park their cars sooner and walk a little further, where possible.
One of city's goals is to provide well-located, accessible and convenient car parking, "particularly meeting the needs of those that require parking most, such as those with limited mobility."
The report suggests car parking subsidies be reduced and market-based tools be increasingly used to balance parking demand and supply.
It highlights the importance of convenient and accessible car parking to the city centre's success for many people, "particularly those with limited mobility or transport options."
It also acknowledges an increase in public transport use and promotion of cycling and walking.
More than just the city centre
Also set to come before council next week is the proposed Walk, Cycle Greater Bendigo Strategy.
The draft strategy attracted more than 40 submissions, some of which have prompted changes to the document.
City staffers have recommended the council adopt the amended strategy.
The meeting will provide an insight into the city's performance in the past financial year.
Draft financial statements show the city's income increased by more than $40m in 2018/19.
Expenses also increased by about $10m.
The city recorded a $62.269m surplus, more than double that of the year prior.
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.