By Jackson Russell
Stage two of the Romsey Ecotherapy Park will go ahead after Macedon Ranges Shire Council allocated $702,000 to complete the sensory therapeutic space and arts and culture space at Wednesday night’s council meeting.
The funds were referred to council’s 2020-21 budget after a unanimous agreement by councillors, with the goal to complete both spaces simultaneously during the next financial year.
Council’s funding complements the State Government’s $718,000 election commitment and the Romsey Ecotherapy Park committee’s $80,000 community contribution.
The sensory therapeutic space is the ‘hero piece’ of the park and includes running water and an ephemeral billabong while the arts and culture space will include a performance area for musicians and artists.
Romsey Ecotherapy Park president Raelene Mottram said the funding shows council’s faith in the project.
“To receive funding and the ability to do both of those areas at once will be fantastic and will just help finish the project off,” she said.
“By having that park finished, it’ll be a beautiful spot, it’ll draw visitors to the area and helps the economy everywhere.”
The Romsey Ecotherapy Park is gaining momentum with the design process for the climbing forest underway and set to be installed by the end of the year.
Council also voted to establish the potential scope for a third and final phase by referring the completion of the $411,000 William St on-street car parking project and the completion of the $243,555 Woodland Ramble space to the 2021/2022 budget process.
“We’ve said all along that our hero piece is our sensory therapeutic garden but to fill in the middle with our arts and culture space, it’s looking good,” Ms Mottram said.
“It’s finally moving along after 10 years of looking like dustbowl.
“People are really getting excited about it, we had a planting day in our woodland ramble last weekend and we had little kids there helping plant trees so it’s great.”
While the park was unsuccessful in its application for funding through the Federal Government’s Building Better Regions Fund, council was able to step up to keep the ball rolling on the project.
Macedon Ranges Shire Mayor Janet Pearce said council has worked with the dedicated committee members and all tiers of government on the project for the last decade.
“We are pleased that the allocated funds can be moved forward so we can progress towards the completion of the project in a coordinated way,” she said.
“We know this is an important project for the health and wellbeing of residents and for the east area of the shire, which will also play a key role in supporting local business and tourism.”