Key projects in the mix for funding

MITCHELL Shire Council will bid for a slice of more than $90 million in State Government economic stimulus programs aimed at reducing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Councillors last week approved applications for funding under the government’s Growing Suburbs Fund and Community Sports Infrastructure Stimulus Program.

The council identified key projects which need State Government funding:

$1.5 million towards a total $3 million cost of expanding Kilmore’s maternal and child-health facilities; $800,000 towards a $1 million redevelopment of the former Killara Children’s Centre into a Wallan community hub; $800,000 for the renewal of Seymour’s Chittick Park; $130,000 for the upgrade of Wallan’s Greenhill Recreation Reserve play space.

An application for a $3.11 million integrated facility at Kilmore’s JJ Clancy Reserve has already been submitted under the Community Sports Infrastructure Stimulus Program.

The $25 million Growing Suburbs Fund provides grants for infrastructure in Victoria’s 10 urban interface and six peri-urban councils.

The $68 million Community Sports Infrastructure Stimulus Program supports the building and upgrade of sports facilities across all Victorian councils.

Councillors lauded staff for preparing the applications at short notice to meet government deadlines.

Cr Fiona Stevens said the tight application windows – a response to the COVID-19 pandemic – highlighted a need for council to consistently have projects ready to go.

“These opportunities come through at very short notice, and the message to council is that we have to be shovel-ready,” she said.

“We have to have a number of projects in the top draw, waiting for these opportunities to come along so we can throw our hat into the ring.

“We’ll cross our fingers and hope we’re successful, and while we’re waiting to hear back on these ones we can work on a lot of other projects to get them up to the same level.”

Cr Annie Goble praised the State Government for providing funding opportunities during the pandemic.

“[These are] shovel-ready, high-priority community infrastructure projects that contribute to local jobs and local economic stimulus,” she said.

Cr Bob Humm described the funding for Kilmore’s JJ Clancy Reserve facility as ‘a long time coming’.

“We had nearly 700 signatures supporting that the council build this community facility,” he said.

“It’s well overdue. What they’re operating out of at the moment has probably been there for 50 years.

“If we’re lucky enough to get that grant… I think it’ll be excellent for the township of Kilmore and the 500 kids and their families that are going to be able to use that [facility].”