MOORABOOL Council hopes a new 30-year growth plan will provide the infrastructure needed to support a bigger population.
Documents to guide urban and rural growth were adopted at the council’s most recent meeting. They outline the first phase of a Moorabool 2041 strategic planning project.
The growth plan is designed to provide the social and physical infrastructure to support projected population growth of 45,000-50,000 people, including 30,000 in Bacchus Marsh and 4500 in Ballan, in the next three decades.
“It’s the best approach in my 16 years on council,” West Moorabool ward’s Cr Tom Sullivan said. “It’s a generational and aspirational document and helps us see where we will be in 30 years’ time.”
But community activist John Spain said the policies should have been developed much earlier. “It looks a bit like a rush to present some good news to the community in the final weeks of this council,” he said. “The delay has contributed to inappropriate developments in Ballan.”
While Mr Spain applauded the council’s desire to protect agricultural resources from urban growth, he was concerned Darley’s “inadequate level of services” was not mentioned.
“Darley, now the largest settlement in Moorabool, has been an afterthought in all previous growth policies and strategies,” he said. “This urban growth policy doesn’t change that.”
East Moorabool ward’s Cr Michael Tudball said the policies were a significant step forward. “We’ve failed to have a vision in the past,” he said. “We need a new vision to start a conversation with the community.”