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Federal funds bring on community building upgrades

Pile of newspapers wrapped in string.

Shire community buildings, public open spaces, and community gathering spaces, as well as roads and street lighting are set for improvements following Federal Government funding.

Thursday 14 October 2021

The Castlemaine Botanical Gardens tea rooms, entrance gates and fountain gate will be upgraded and irrigation systems at recreation reserves in Maldon and Newstead will be renewed thanks to a $1.24 million Federal Government funding boost for Mount Alexander Shire.

The funds for these and other infrastructure projects are to help communities bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mount Alexander Shire Council’s Director Infrastructure and Development Michael Annear said funds have been allocated to improve community buildings, public open spaces, and community gathering spaces, as well as roads and street lighting.

“This is a great boost for communities across our shire, and will enable us to improve some of our most popular and well-used community and sporting facilities that otherwise would have had to wait,” said Mr Annear.

Projects funded through the Federal Government’s Local Roads and Community Infrastructure (LRCI) Program Phase 2 in Mount Alexander Shire are:

Parks and Recreation Reserves

Upgrade irrigation systems at Maldon and Newstead Recreation Reserves:
This project will ensure that the grass surface at both sites is maintained to a level required for seasonal sport, including AFL and cricket league matches.

Rehabilitation works at Stanley Park in Harcourt:
Picnic furniture will be installed to reinstate the former play space at Stanley Park in Harcourt as a community space. Litter bins will also be replaced and recycling bins will be added.

Upgrades at the Castlemaine Botanical Gardens:
The entrance gates and fountain at the gardens will be restored. A qualified specialist conservator and Heritage Victoria will be consulted to ensure the entrance gates (built in 1877) and fountain (built in 1878) are preserved in line with their original Regency style. The kitchen of the former tea rooms, which is already a popular hire venue, will get an oven and improved catering facilities to expand its function as a public and private events venue.

Upgrades at the Bill Woodfull Recreation Reserve in Maldon:
Parts of the perimeter fencing around Maldon’s main sporting facility will be replaced or repaired to create a secure chain mesh fence. New gates will also be installed at the main match day vehicle entrance and a new pedestrian gate will allow access from the reserve into the Maldon Gardens. This project is expected to be completed in late September.

Furniture upgrade at Fryerstown Community Park:
New fencing and an upgraded park bench will help encourage greater community and visitor use at this community park.

Improvements to Chewton Soldiers Memorial Park:
This project will grade and spot re-sheet the carpark and create a new bell mouth entry and spoon drain to ensure smooth vehicular access to this recreation facility which is home to our shire’s only soccer club, the Castlemaine Goldfields Football Club. Smooth vehicular access is especially important as the soccer field is a designated emergency landing site for air ambulance services.

Community facilities

Replace roof of Maldon Neighbourhood Centre building:
The roof of this former Presbyterian Church, built in 1905, will be replaced to prevent water leaking in and to improve insulation in this high-use building which is part of the widely used and popular Maldon Neighbourhood Centre.

Community sporting facilities

Improve access at Maldon Croquet Club with new concrete steps and path:
New concrete paths will improve accessibility for all-abilities to the club house and playing green and to the public toilet behind the clubhouse. Work has started and is expected to be completed in time for the upcoming croquet season.

Re-clad the Taradale Tennis Pavilion:Re-clad the Taradale Tennis Pavilion:
This project will reclad the pavilion’s exterior and insulate the walls to boost its energy efficiency. Works are expected to be completed in October.

Remove asbestos and re-sheet the Newstead Bowling Club:Remove asbestos and re-sheet the Newstead Bowling Club:
This project will remove asbestos from the Newstead Bowling Club room and re-sheet the walls.

Cultural venues

Improve safe access to Buda Historic Home and Garden in Castlemaine:
Safe steps will be built into the nature strip outside this much-loved, heritage-listed, goldfields-era villa house and garden which will enhance safe access down the steep slope to the carpark outside the main gates.

Remove, store and relocate a Castlemaine Art Museum sculpture: Remove, store and relocate a Castlemaine Art Museum sculpture:
This project will see Zoe Amor’s highly regarded sculpture, “Dusk”, removed from the portico of the Castlemaine Art Museum (CAM), restored at the Garage Art Foundry in Elphinstone where it was cast and ultimately relocated to a yet-to-be-announced site under a CAM/Council loan agreement to support greater visibility of public artworks throughout the shire. Its relocation will enable other infrastructure works at CAM to proceed.

Roads and streets

Upgrade street lights along major roads in towns across the shire:
Replacing 288 street lights with energy-efficient LED lights, along major roads in Castlemaine, Maldon, Newstead, Harcourt, Guildford, Chewton and Campbells Creek is expected to generate significant annual savings in electricity bills and will enable municipal lighting to comply with Australian Standards. It builds on the success of the Lighting the Regions project which replaced 900 residential street lights with LEDs in 2015, cutting street lighting energy use by 55%.

Improve safe access along Golden Point Road:
This project will seal bell mouths at key intersections (Llewellyn Road, Chinamans Point Road, O’Hallorans Road and Madigans Road) along Golden Point Road.

Completed projects

Projects funded under the LRCI Phase Two program that are already completed include:

- Installation of an electric vehicle charging station at the rear of the Castlemaine Visitor Information Centre
- Installation of irrigation in Lyons Park, Newstead to maintain and develop the lawn and garden beds of this popular recreational play and event venue
- Patch Woodman Bridge (between Muckleford-Walmer Road and the Pyrenees Highway)
- Creation of a community meeting room and study space in the Castlemaine Library.

Federal MP for Bendigo Lisa Chesters said the works were important for improving safety and boosting economic and social outcomes in the region.

Work on many of the projects are set to begin this month, weather permitting.

“The funding is great news for residents across the shire, and we look forward to now delivering these projects for our communities in the coming year,” said Mr Annear.

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