NORTHERN Grampians Shire Council can now commence work on a new master plan for Halls Gap, after Nationals Member for Lowan, Hugh Delahunty committed $45,000 in state government funding for the project.
Mr Delahunty visited the town on Friday to announce the contribution towards the plan that will guide development in Halls Gap for the next 10 years.
Mayor, Cr Kevin Erwin said the funding boost will help council analyse the development potential of Halls Gap's public land and retail precinct.
"Council has identified a need for a major revitalisation of the town in order to introduce new product and enable Halls Gap to remain competitive as a major tourist destination in Victoria," he said.
"The master plan will support the growth of existing businesses and provide incentives for new investment which will help to position Halls Gap as a tourist resort town."
In addition to enhancing recreation and tourist facilities and increasing activity in the precinct, the master plan aims to improve safety for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.
Cr Erwin said council would be consulting with key stakeholders to ensure the plan delivered positive results for the Halls Gap township.
"It is important that this project meets the needs of local businesses, community users and visitors to Halls Gap," he said.
"We will be working closely with tourism bodies, business owners, community groups and other agencies throughout the development of the master plan to ensure we achieve a proper balance between conservation and development which will set the tone for Halls Gap for the next 10 years."
Mr Delahunty said the plan will focus on development opportunities to support the sustainability and expansion of local businesses, as well as provide a pathway for new investment and revitalisation of Halls Gap as a tourist resort town.
“Halls Gap is the major visitor gateway to the Grampians National Park, attracting more than two million visitor nights per year,” he said.
“However, private investment and reinvestment in Halls Gap has been low over the past decade and there is a need for a major revitalisation to introduce new experiences to help Halls Gap remain competitive as a major tourist destination.”
Nationals Candidate for Lowan, Emma Kealy said the master plan will analyse the development potential of Halls Gap, co-ordinating and integrating land-use development, infrastructure improvements and investment opportunities.
“It will provide a pathway for change and a consistent, reasoned approach to development, design and management of the Halls Gap township,” she said.
Victorian Government funding towards the $60,000 Halls Gap Master Planning Project will be provided through its $1 billion Regional Growth Fund and be delivered to Northern Grampians Shire Council which will itself contribute $15,000.
“The Regional Growth Fund is investing in community-led projects to strategically drive jobs, investment and innovation in rural and regional Victoria,” Mr Delahunty said.
“Since it was established in 2011, the Regional Growth Fund has delivered more than $400 million, generating well over $1.6 billion of total investment across almost 1500 projects.”
In Northern Grampians Shire, the Regional Growth Fund has provided $3.5 million to 34 projects, leveraging $5.6 million in total investment.
Some of these projects include $97,000 for the $640,000 Stawell Water Harvesting and Reuse System; $300,000 for the $700,000 St Arnaud Streetscape; and $187,500 for the $250,000 Halls Gap Bike Path Extension.
The Halls Gap Master Planning Project is expected to be completed by the end of 2014.