CONSTRUCTION for projects in stage one of the Halls Gap Village Centre Action Plan will start within weeks.
Northern Grampians Shire councillors unanimously endorsed the first stage of the plan at a meeting in St Arnaud on Monday.
The action plan will implement elements of the Halls Gap Master Plan for Commercial Investment and Public Land Development, which council adopted in December 2016.
These elements relate to amenity and pedestrian access, as well as identification of the Grampians Peaks Trail head location and departure experience.
Halls Gap is the access point for the first completed section of trail, which opened in 2015. Construction for the rest of the trail is due to finish late next year.
The action plan’s first stage outlines seven priority projects and a range of complementary initiatives.
Among these are establishing a boardwalk from the Stoney Creek bridge to shops; building raised pedestrian crossings to improve access between the town’s reserve and shops; and establishing a formal rear laneway network between Grampians Road and Heath Street to encourage commercial development.
Northern Grampians Shire Council chief executive Michael Bailey said the plan was two years in the making.
He said construction on some of the priority projects would start in the next two weeks.
“That is really the first implementation of raised pedestrian crossings across Grampians Road, increasing access to Stoney Creek and a few other pedestrian walkways,” he said.
“It will also include upgrading School Road. We've had exhaustive community consultations about Halls Gap. We're still continuing to engage, and that will continue to push priorities.”
Mr Bailey said councillors and council staff met with state government representatives on Thursday to seek funding for Heath Street upgrades, another of the action plan’s priority projects.
“We’re seeking funding for a bridge on Heath Street to go over Stoney Crossing, which will start to change the traffic flows significantly in that area,” he said.
The action plan outlines how a Heath Street bridge connection is considered critical to making Halls Gap a world-class walkable town, which is council’s vision for the village.