At its meeting on Tuesday night, Council adopted an Investment Plan which outlines and prioritises projects that can be proposed when funding suddenly becomes available from government sources.

The Plan lists a range of  projects that are considered high priority but which have not made it into this year’s budget. Some of the projects are “shovel-ready”, meaning they can be launched at short notice; others, like the redevelopment of Daylesford Town Hall, are still at the planning stage.

According to the Agenda papers, “often the potential for funding requires Council Officers to provide Government with a list of projects, or a preferred project with very short turnaround – 24 hours is not uncommon.”

For example, the federal government recently made almost a million dollars available to the Shire for local road and community infrastructure to help with Covid-19 recovery. The grant conditions meant that projects needed to be ready to go immediately and able to be completed within the next financial year.

In the Daylesford area two projects will be funded from this source: installing lighting and a pathway from Vincent St to the proposed Civic Plaza and extending the Daylesford to Coomoora walking and cycling trail. The extension to the trail, about 3.5 kms, will continue from the path to the Dharma School on the Daylesford Trentham Rd and take Matts Lane through to Coomoora.

Other local projects which could be started at relatively short notice are improvements to the Wombat Hill Botanical Gardens, including the restoration of the rotunda and preparations for outdoor concerts, and improvements to the facilities and access at the mineral springs in Hepburn, Central Springs and Jubilee Lake.

There are some very significant projects outlined in the Investment Plan which would need large injections of funds in the long-term, notably the Daylesford to Tylden section of the Hanging Rock Trail and a proposed Institute of Gastronomy in collaboration with William Angliss TAFE. At this stage any grants would be used for planning work.

The Investment Plan for the whole Shire is available on the Council’s website. (See page71).