Plan to grow Latrobe

A PLAN to formalise Latrobe City’s status as Gippsland’s regional city was advanced with the endorsement of the Gippsland Regional Growth Plan this week.

Last Monday council approved the Gippsland Regional Growth Plan which, among other recommendations, recognised the role of the Valley’s four main urban centres as pivotal in fulfilling a city function for wider Gippsland.

Speaking to The Express before Monday’s meeting Latrobe City manager city planning Chris Wightman said regional city status would ensure Latrobe Valley was regarded as equal to Bendigo, Geelong, and Ballarat in the statewide “hierarchy”.

He said it would “send a strong signal to developers and the investment community” helping to boost local “job creation and economic sustainability”.

Mr Wightman said Latrobe City would benefit from the provision of services, amenities and facilities directed to other key regional cities in Victoria.

The regional growth plan, developed by numerous key Gippsland agencies and all of its councils, said regional city status would boost Latrobe’s capacity for “attracting more specialised services and enhancing access to goods and services otherwise only available in metropolitan Melbourne”.

“Success in growing Latrobe City as a single urban system will support growth within the Princes Highway corridor, including in the regional centres of Bairnsdale and Sale,” the report said.

Mr Wightman said the regional growth plan was prepared to support the region’s agreed priorities set out in the Gippsland Regional Plan 2010.

According to the growth plan, it provides a land-use focus for economic, environmental, settlements and infrastructure priorities and will be used to “inform regional planning policy” across Gippsland.

Developed over two years, the project was guided by a steering committee and was consistent with the Latrobe City Council Plan 2013-2017, Mr Wightman said.