AN Ararat Rural City Council bypass planning initiative has been selected for a state government program aimed at streamlining development.
The council’s Ararat in Transition project is one of 25 regional Victorian initiatives to receive money through the government’s Streamlining for Growth Program, designed to help councils plan for the future.
The state government has allocated $35,000 for the project, a major initiative in the 2017-21 Ararat Rural City Council plan and 2018-19 budget.
The council was the only one in the Wimmera to receive funding.
The government will spend $5.7 million on 51 projects, with $2.2 million of that for projects in regional areas.
Ararat Rural City mayor Gwenda Allgood said the planned Western Highway bypass of Ararat would provide an opportunity to consolidate the city’s role as regional centre, and capitalise on investment in a number of areas including jobs, transport and the arts.
“The Ararat in Transition project is about maximising opportunities and addressing the challenges likely to emerge as a result of a bypass,” she said.
“The bypass will provide significant safety and amenity improvements to our town, but will also have an impact socially and economically.
“It will also provide opportunities for renewal and revitalisation of Ararat.
“To achieve this requires a great deal of engagement, planning and partnership between local businesses, community members and council.”
VicRoads is completing a number of investigations for the bypass, including noise monitoring works.
The authority installed devices in the city last week that will log traffic volume and help VicRoads predict the reduction in noise levels after the bypass is constructed.
The monitors will be in place until Monday next week.
The authority unveiled a draft bypass route option and interchange concept designs last year, and made some changes to these in March.
The proposed route bypasses Ararat to the north-east.