SOUTHERN Grampians Shire Council will further investigate a proposal for an alternate truck route around Hamilton after an independent planning panel effectively endorsed the idea.
The panel recently recommended that Petschells Lane on the town’s south-east outskirts be re-investigated as being part of an alternate truck route that would take heavy vehicles along Hamilton’s southern outskirts.
The council has stressed no route has yet been set or even proposed and detailed technical investigation has still to be done.
Planning Panels Victoria C25 independent planning panel recently said the proposal required more work to provide strategic justification for the designated route. “That’s not a fatal flaw, it is a matter that requires further work,” the panel said.
Southern Grampians mayor Bob Penny said alternative routes were always contentious.
He said council was prepared to push on with the panel’s recommendation to do the work necessary to remove most heavy vehicles from the city centre.
The panel also endorsed Southern Grampians Shire’s focus on developing Hamilton’s central business district.
The panel said the Southern Grampians Retail Strategy was sound and its overriding objective to encourage retail, including bulky goods and large format retail in, or adjacent to, the CBD as a first priority was strategically justified.
Cr Penny said the council had been consistent in its belief that Hamilton’s growth was dependent on investment in the CBD.
He said rigorous and extensive research, debate and analysis had confirmed the council was right in its belief.
“Investors now have certainty as to where retail is to be directed and the council looks forward to working with investors to ensure quality development and a vibrant city centre that is attractive to visitors and potential new residents.” Cr Penny said.
The council also took heart from the independent panel’s commendation of the council’s community consultation on the C25 amendment.
The panel said while some submitters at the panel’s hearings were critical of the council’s consultation program, it believed the council went to extraordinary lengths to consult as widely as possible.