Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Seymour's priorities explained

Mitchell Shire Council lets state election candidates know what the score is.

CHALPAT SONTI August 20, 2014 3:06am

These political aspirants for the new state seat of Euroa - Steph Ryan (Nationals), Tony Schneider (Liberals) and Clare Malcolm (Labor) - did a lot of listening and no talking as Mitchell Shire Council outlined its funding priorities on Thursday.

It’s not often a group of would-be politicians get together in a room and do very little talking, but that is exactly what happened on Thursday.

Mitchell Shire Council held a breakfast at Kilmore to outline to budding state politicians — including the three declared candidates for the Euroa electorate — what it saw as the priorities for funding in the shire.

Steph Ryan (Nationals), Clare Malcolm (Labor) and Tony Schneider (Liberals) had plenty apart from the food to chew on.

While some of the priorities related to the growing pains in the south of the shire on a shoestring budget — ‘‘Every week we can’t provide services and solutions we watch the problem grow,’’ said Mayor Rodney Parker — there were several projects in the north ward.

This included $6.3million needed for the proposed Seymour levee bank flood mitigation project.

Engineering and infrastructure services director Jeff Saker said at present the council was still undertaking several studies to help it decide on the final alignment of the 4.5km bank, but it would eventually need the money for land purchases and to proceed to detailed design and construction to be completed by 2017.

Another $2.6million was needed to upgrade the over-dimensional route running through Emily, High and Oak Sts — the council also wanted responsibility for maintaining the route transferred to the Victorian Government.

‘‘It’s in poor condition, it’s a safety issue, it’s a hazard and it certainly needs a lot of work to bring it up to the standard you would expect of an OD route,’’ Mr Saker said.

‘‘We also feel VicRoads are far better resourced and placed to take over the management of the (route) and there are other local governments in similar situations I would imagine.’’

Council chief executive Rebecca McKenzie said other north ward priorities included $2million needed for the proposed new Visitor Information Centre in Seymour ‘‘to meet expanding tourism demand’’.

There were 11863 visitors to the existing centre in 2013-14, up 7.7 per cent on the previous year.

‘‘Seymour is the gateway to the Goulburn Valley from a tourism perspective (and it) certainly needs a positive, inviting, enticing visitor experience,’’ she said.

There also needed to be improved rail services on the Seymour line, especially a fast peak service, particularly given Seymour being identified in the Hume Regional Growth Plan as a key strategic location.

‘‘In real terms the commute (from Seymour) to Melbourne has increased from about one hour 10 minutes to 1:38 as the population has grown along the corridor,’’ she said.

Improved car parking at stations, using Victorian Government owned land, was another priority. This included Seymour, where many commuters from surrounding towns used it.

There was some scope for ‘‘quick wins’’ by reconfiguring parking and relocating or removing the old bike lockers and a large waste bin.

Another priority was improved road safety around primary schools in the shire. This would cost about $490000 around Seymour College (including making Loco St one-way) and $550000 at Tallarook Primary School (the second stage of the streetscape upgrade, which includes the school frontage).

Plenty of other priorities listed in a document presented to the candidates included up to $5million for the Great Victorian Rail Trail extension from Tallarook to Seymour, $1.5million for the restoration of the Old Goulburn River Bridge and $1.8million to reseal Hume and Hovell Rd to support economic development there.

There was also the need to reconsider Seymour as a destination for the proposed fast train.

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