Rejoice over major projects

Related coverage: Gibson defends rate increaseLong-awaited funds allocated

Funding earmarked for the Moe railway revitalisation project has emerged as a major highlight for community and business groups in the draft Latrobe City Council budget.

Council plans to borrow $2 million for the next phase of the revitalisation, but this would only go ahead if it is successful in securing a $5 million state and federal government contribution for the project in the next year.

Moe Traders Association president Christine Waterhouse said the community was “thrilled to bits” the railway precinct was prioritised.

Committee for Moe president Manny Gelagotis said it would be “unfair” for the project to miss out on funding when work had already begun in November last year.

“Council’s showing a commitment they’re prepared to borrow and (governments) should follow through,” he said.

Traralgon Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Debbie Grist said while the business community supported capital works projects and healthy living, it was disappointed with the 5.24 per cent rate increase.

“Businesses are all facing the same cost blowouts as council is,” Ms Grist said.

“Everyone is tightening their belts and having their hours cut, yet Latrobe City don’t seem to be cutting their employment costs, rather, they’re having a net increase of 16 people.”

Advance Morwell president John Guy welcomed $357,000 for an access all abilities playground at the Morwell Town Common, along with construction of a car park.

However he was concerned council was relying on state or federal government funding for $250,000 of the project.

“If they don’t get external funding, it means nothing will happen again,” Mr Guy said.

“There doesn’t seem to be a great deal of money at state or federal level at the moment, so you may say the chances of that happening are remote.”

Mr Guy said he accepted the rate rise as long as council was “maintaining services”.

“There appears to be a good balance,” he said.

However, he criticised council for precluding a town structure plan for Morwell.

Churchill and District Community Association president Margaret Guthrie said she was pleased the public had secured funding for the implementation of the town structure plan which includes a wide pedestrian link between West Place Shopping Centre and Hazelwood Village.

“I think Churchill is fortunate that we are seeing our major projects progress,” she said.