PREMIER Denis Napthine has cited the south-west’s railway and further development at Warrnambool Base Hospital as key priorities following the release of a new civic blueprint.
A glossy new prospectus has been released by the city council detailing major projects needed by residents in Warrnambool and the wider south-west during the next two decades.
Renewal of the cityscape, making the Fletcher Jones site viable for commercial investment and an overhaul of Reid Oval and its surrounds have been included in the comprehensive brochure.
Dr Napthine met Warrnambool mayor Michael Neoh and the council’s chief executive Bruce Anson to discuss the report, 10 months out from the state election.
While no particular project was given priority over the other, Cr Neoh said the document provided a clear outline of what the municipality felt were key priorities heading into the next decade.
Regional initiatives were also detailed in the report, including improving the south-west’s low tertiary education attainment levels and duplication of the Princes Highway between Winchelsea and Colac.
Other projects listed in the city council’s Warrnambool — Projects and Opportunities manifesto include:
n an $8 million Brierly community precinct for new facilities in the city’s burgeoning north-east;
n safer boat launching facilities at Lady Bay;
n a comprehensive study into south-west food production;
n transferring ownership of Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village to the city council;
n a $4 million redevelopment of Reid Oval to make it a “premier sports ground” capable of hosting AFL games;
n a multi-million-dollar refurbishment of Warrnambool’s AquaZone swimming pools; and
n a $6.5 million runway lengthening at Warrnambool Airport.
Dr Napthine said the Regional Rail Link works in Melbourne’s western suburbs opened up opportunities to boost services along the Warrnambool line.
He said the stage two redevelopment of Warrnambool Base Hospital was also in his sights as local member.
“Regional rail services are also something this government has worked on over the past three years and we’re making great progress,” he said.
“This will open up opportunities to increase passenger services along the Warrnambool line and freight services as well.”
The state government has encouraged civic leaders to outline their priority projects, with the premier visiting Geelong last week to meet with the city’s newly installed mayor Darren Lyons.
Cr Neoh said the manifesto put Warrnambool on the front foot in terms of funding advocacy to state and federal leaders.
“We’re being proactive and ensuring funding opportunities don’t pass us by,” he said.
“It shows we have a clear vision and that we’re serious about developing the city and the wider region.”