Horsham Rural City Council chief executive Sunil Bhalla says residents will soon be able to have their say on specific projects connected to the City to River Masterplan, as the schematic design phase begins.
The council decided to defer a vote to receive and note the final version of the 20-year vision for Horsham after establishing less than half the seven councillors would be able to vote on it at Tuesday night's meeting.
Councillors David Grimble and John Robinson did not attend the meeting, while councillors Alethea Gulvin and Pam Clarke declared conflicts of interest, meaning they also could not vote.
View the amended masterplan below (page 44)
Following the meeting Mr Bhalla said the vote was "a formality".
"Councillors already endorsed amendments to the plan, and they have been included in the final plan. We are implementing the resolutions, including starting the schematic design process for the different sub precincts with the plan," he said.
"(The vote) is more about bringing a close to stage one. We didn't have to do it."
The draft masterplan is a 20-year vision for Horsham, designed to guide council in seeking state and federal funding for projects in the region. The amended plan suggests changes to Horsham CBD including:
- Enlarging and rotating City Oval, and adding netball courts
- A riverfront cafe
- A tourism/hospitality site at the Maydale showgrounds
- New civic and government buildings on the city block occupied by Horsham courthouse, police and the civic centre.
It was on public exhibition between July 4 and August 30 last year, and received 740 submissions from individuals.
Mr Bhalla said reference groups with community representatives would be set up in coming weeks, to provide input as the schematic designs were being developed.
"There will be an expression of interest process (for the reference groups) we are starting. There will also be an opportunity for the broader community to have an input," he said.
The masterplan received a $1.65 million commitment from the federal government prior to the 2019 Federal Election in May.
Cr Grimble, a farmer at Brimpaen, told the Mail-Times work commitments prevented him from attending.
He said he hoped council staff would provide a report to councillors and the community on what projects were its priorities in the short term, before council elections in October.
"(The schematic design phase) tells me there is going to be money spent on consultants. What I want to know is at the end of council's term how we will have spent the funding from (Member for Mallee) Anne Webster and the $800,000 council has committed," he said.
"What is the focus, is it City Oval or the CBD or something else? The council's administration arm probably knows what those priorities are and councillors need to see that through a report to council."
"There is a lot more consultation that needs to be done. I'm really on about having good process and council hasn't engaged with community way we should have. I'm happy to see the report to council even if it is only to be received and noted."
In her report to Tuesday's meeting, the council's Development Services director Angela Murphy said now the final masterplan had been adopted, the Action and Implementation Plan could begin.
"(This) will identify potential projects, their associated scope and estimated costs. The projects will be subject to prioritisation and consideration by Council as part of its annual and long-term capital works planning and budget allocation," she wrote.
The council's website states following the completion of the action plan, detailed designs for Firebrace Street south of O'Callaghan's Parade, City Oval and Sawyer Park and an expression of interest for the operation of a riverfront cafe can begin.
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