The City of Greater Bendigo has released a 76-page draft plan for the Bendigo City Centre for public comment.
It touches on everything from building design guidelines to how people will move through the city, and how it will serve the needs of both visitors and residents.
Parking is also incorporated, both in the draft plan and in an additional 149-page "parking futures action plan".
Precinct by precinct
The stretch from Pall Mall and Charing Cross through Mitchell Street, past Lyttleton Terrace, was identified as the city's retail core.
It was envisaged this would become "the region's premier retail destination".
"Heritage buildings will be restored and filled with contemporary businesses to provide a retail setting that is second to none," the draft plan said.
The mall was expected to be upgraded, and there were plans to "reinstate Charing Cross as a landmark, multi-functional civic space... that draws people to its heart."
Bath Lane through to Garsed Street, along Edward Street, was identified as a 'peripheral retail and commercial" precinct.
Key suggestions included creating a new public plaza space and "improving the public realm interface to Bendigo Creek along Bath Lane".
Creek Street South to Wills Street was to be a "premium residential" precinct, with a "distinct heritage character".
"Businesses that are currently located here will continue to operate, though it is preferable for them to ultimately relocate into the upper levels of buildings in the retail core or peripheral retail and commercial precinct," the draft plan said.
"New dwellings in this precinct must respect the existing heritage character of the area and make a positive contribution with high-quality, contemporary residential architecture."
The area encompassing Bendigo Station, Bendigo Marketplace and the former Crystal Ice/ Gillies Pies factory sites was the fourth precinct.
Priorities included incorporating a "prominent civic public space" at Bendigo Station and promoting "high-quality adaptive re-use of the industrial architecture built form to create a vibrant and funky mixed-use quarter."
The precinct from Chapel Street to Williamson Street, and from McCrae Street through to McLaren Street, was where more than $300-million worth of developments were planned.
However, the draft plan indicated significant change was also expected in the sixth precinct, which centred around Bridge Street.
"The precinct will be transformed into a vibrant, mixed-use, high street destination with taller buildings for new shops, eateries, offices and apartments," the document stated.
It was expected to become a northward expansion of the city centre.
Priorities included progressing the development and expansion of the Golden Dragon Museum and Dai Gum San to establish the National Chinese Museum of Australia.
Rosalind Park was in a precinct of its own. Stated priorities included implementing the park's master plan, and working with Court Services Victoria to develop a plan for the existing law courts.
View Street was the eighth precinct. "Apart from some selective sensitive development, this precinct will focus on restoration and adaptive re-use of heritage properties," the draft plan said.
The ninth precinct was along Bendigo's High Street, from Myrtle Street past Short Street.
"This stretch of High Street has the potential to provide a memorable arrival into the city centre, winding through impressive, phased views of Sacred Heart Cathedral, Bendigo Bank, View Point and Rosalind Park," the draft plan stated.
Making the city centre more friendly for vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists, was a recurring theme in this section of the draft plan.
"Traffic planning and design should promote a consistent message to motorists that the city centre is a distinctly different traffic environment to the rest of the municipal area," the document stated.
It envisaged changes to roads designed as "city centre bypasses for high volumes of traffic moving at higher speeds", which were "not compatible with aims to establish a safe, pedestrian-priority environment."
Over time, the roads would become more like city centre access routes.
"Access should be improved or maintained, but in a lower speed, pedestrian-friendly environment," the plan said.
"Some slip lanes and turn lanes may change to roundabouts, or from unsignalised to signalised."
The draft plan identified a number of routes expected to become major thoroughfares for vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists.
It said intersections would be further modified for pedestrian priority and safety.
New priority crossing points were also needed, particularly at 'arterial roads' such as Pall Mall, Chapel Street and Myers Street.
The draft plan highlighted public transport's importance to the future of the city centre.
"Delivering Bendigo Metro Rail is particularly important to provide improved access from urban Bendigo and the region into the heart of the city centre," the document said.
Upgrades to the Bendigo Station precinct and transport interchange would be needed to support that aim.
Bus waiting facilities and stations also needed to be addressed, the draft plan said.
"If we want more of our community to try the buses, then we need to be providing them with clean, safe and comfortable connections."
One of the most controversial aspects of the proposal, to date, has been a particular line about a vision for "a contemporary city with heritage foundations":
"The collective heritage value of buildings should not be compromised or undermined by the retention of every building simply because they are old or nice," it said.
Councillors at this month's meeting emphasised the importance of the city's heritage and culture when discussing the draft plan, and provided reassurance about the respect with which they would be treated.
Bendigo Branch National Trust president Peter Cox urged residents to carefully consider the draft plan and to provide feedback.
Mr Cox said it was disappointing.
Have Your Say
Comments on the draft Bendigo City Centre Plan are open until October 27.
To lodge your comment, contact the Regional Sustainable Development unit at the City of Greater Bendigo by calling 5434 6000 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
To view copies of the draft plan, the summary and the parking futures action plan, click here.