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TWO prominent Bendigo businessmen have called for a dramatic rethink of the region’s planning and development policies, as the city continues to boom towards becoming a sprawling community of more than 200,000 by 2050.
Former Bendigo Bank and Coliban Water director Don Erskine and strategic transport planner Trevor Phillips have proposed a radical series of employment zones on the fringes of Bendigo, serviced by a network of new and upgraded roads as part of a proposal that the pair admit will create controversy and emotions, but more importantly, should also spark debate about Bendigo’s future growth.
The pair want planners to consider a polycentric model where independent self-contained suburbs similar to Canberra could be developed at Maiden Gully, Strathfieldsaye and Marong, with further expansion north of Huntly to be discouraged because of perceived concerns about flooding and inadequate transport infrastructure.
They also believe a network of employment areas could eventually be established at Ravenswood, Huntly, Eaglehawk/Myers Flat, the Calder Alternate/Bendigo Marybourough Road to include the existing poultry area, in Strathfieldsaye and at Axedale.
Expansion into Ravenswood is seen as desirable, provided land capability studies identify the land as being suitable for urban uses.
Equally, Lockwood and Lockwood South could be considered for urban growth, and under this strategy, smaller settlements of up to 10,000 people could be considered for Axedale, Goornong and Elmore.
Mr Phillips said present day planning policy for urban growth is based on a centralist model that promotes the CBD and promotes incremental growth around the existing urban zones.
“This could easily lead to all the bad features associated with urban congestion as seen in larger cities such as Sydney and Melbourne, and also fails to recognize the dramatic changes introduced to the retail sector, for example, with the digital age.
“I believe Bendigo’s future is in preserving as much of old Bendigo as you can and then providing a new Bendigo around that, which provides a lot more features you cannot superimpose on the old Bendigo.”
At June 30, 2018, Greater Bendigo’s population was approximately 116,000, and as the city marches towards a population of 200,000 sometime within the next 30 or so years, consideration needs to be given for 35,000 more homes and up to 210,000 additional vehicle movements a day.
Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows there are about 1.87 vehicles per household, meaning Bendigo must consider the impact and need for an extra 65,450 vehicles on local roads.
This article first appeared on www.bendigoweekly.com
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