Members of a group tasked with developing plans to activate Horsham's Riverfront are urging people to look beyond their preconceived notions when leaving feedback on a new plan.
Horsham Rural City Council's proposal for the proposed Regional Water Play Park on the Wimmera River is now on public exhibition until Sunday August 23.
Horsham Rural City Council and community reference group propose the park be developed on the area of riverfront bounded by Eastgate Drive and Horsham Riverside Caravan Park.
The council has applied to Sport and Recreation Victoria for funding to build the park. It has previously stated the wider Riverfront Activation project - one of several subsections of a 20-year vision for Horsham - already has a guaranteed $3 million in funding from all three tiers of government.
Di Bell, a member of the community reference group and Horsham Rural Residents and Ratepayers president, said she felt the council had come a long way in how it engaged the community.
"To have community representatives and council having regular discussions with the consultant has been positive, and the draft concept plan is a direct result of those discussions," she said. "I believe community pressure is what has brought this about.
"We were looking forward to having face-to-face conversations, but with the COVID changes we are moving online. There are also phone numbers provided for people on the CRG fo them to talk to.
"When giving feedback, I would say think of the big picture rather than just what you would use personally."
Mrs Bell said she had experienced the benefits of taking a wider world view first-hand.
"I spent a lot of time on my City to River submission, and I suggested the angling club would be an ideal spot for the riverfront cafe," she said. "However now I know how much those club rooms get used... I have a totally different view."
Mrs Bell said being on the reference group, she had learned about the constraints and challenges council staff encountered when making plans for Horsham. She hoped the community reference group model would remain a feature of council engagement into the future.
The ratepayers group previously called for work on all City to River projects to halt during the pandemic.
Another CRG member, Steve Parish of the Horsham Angling Club, said he felt this was the right spot for the park.
"I think it will be pretty well-used," he said.
"Obviously we've got an interest with our clubrooms there, but I'm not sure the splash park will influence us. But who knows, the more people use it the more people will see it.
"I don't think a lot of people realise how often those clubrooms are used: In the 12 months to Christmas last year, we had something like 80 bookings from community groups and individuals, and we used it at least 50 times.
"All the money we make from it goes back into the facility and maintenance."
Mr Parish said he was happy with how plans for the angling club area had progressed since the City to River masterplan went on exhibition last year.
"The first ones didn't have a road into the area, but through consultation and investigation, we have maintained the car parking, not only for the angling club," he said.
The draft concept plan also suggests a meeting place for where Firebrace Street meets the river, and upgrades to public toilets and the angling club itself among other changes.
Mr Parish said there were no details on what the proposed upgrades involved, given everything in the plan was subject to change based on community feedback.
Residents can also view the draft concept plans at the following locations at Horsham Angling Clubrooms and 43 Firebrace Street (next to Horsham Paws).
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