It’s time to ‘greenify’ Morwell

PERMANENT garden beds along the main road.

A shared cyclist and pedestrian circuit connecting major aspects of the town.

A gateway attracting visitors into the area.

All of these ideas form part of a draft Future Morwell urban revitalisation plan, which will soon head to Latrobe City councillors for their consideration.

Its creation brings great relief to those who have spent countless hours working to produce a shared vision for a town grappled by changing industry.

“It (the Future Morwell urban revitalisation plan) is going to change the way the town operates, what the town thinks of itself, the town’s psychology,” steering committee member Ray Burgess said. 

“So ultimately there’s some beautification and greenification of Morwell – the plan is to make Morwell a town of gardens, so we’ll make it a much greener, friendlier place.” 

Future Morwell came about from the provision of State Government funding following the Hazelwood mine fire.

Community representatives, council and RMIT University came together to produce a set of targeted initiatives that would reshape Morwell in the short, medium and long-term.

Eight months of consultation followed – including conversations with more than 900 people – and an idea to rebrand Morwell as a garden town came about.

“I think it’s important that all towns occasionally stop and have a look at themselves,” Future Morwell steering committee chair Graeme Middlemiss said.

“This was inspired, I suppose, by the downturn this area of the Morwell central business district felt as a result of the mine fire.

“During the mine fire people stopped shopping in the Morwell CBD and this is a real effort to revitalise the area, to make it much more attractive and bring people back.”

Staged changes proposed to take place across town would begin with the ‘beautification’ of Commercial Road between Hazelwood Road and Tarwin Street.

It is an initiative steering committee member Ruth Codlin believes is “the best thing that’s come to Morwell for a really long time”.

“The sunflowers have been great, the Winter Night Festival is a fantastic thing,” Ms Codlin said.

“They’re all a step towards beautifying the town that are nothing to do with the Future Morwell program, but they’re happening alongside it.

“And I think Future Morwell just gives us the opportunity to build the town a better profile, altogether.”

Councillors will review the draft at a briefing meeting on 27 June before considering to release the document for community engagement.

A final plan will eventually return to councillors for their consideration.