Shepparton’s central business district revitalisation project has missed out on Federal Government funding for a third time, pushing Greater Shepparton City Council to re-assess funding options to ensure the project progresses.
The council had lodged an application for $3million funding to be matched dollar for dollar to fund half of the $6million planned works on Maude St, between High St and Ashenden St, Shepparton.
The request to the Federal Government’s Building Better Regions Fund hoped to help build a new Maude St bus interchange south of Vaughan St, develop a new public plaza and improve the Maude St streetscape south of the mall.
But the council learned on Friday it was unsuccessful, something Mayor Dinny Adem said was ‘‘disappointing, obviously’’.
‘‘I think the council really put together a water-tight proposal,’’ he said.
‘‘(We’re) examining other options now, to try to secure this funding.’’
Cr Adem said the council would review the application, look at ways to move it up the priority list and at options for funding.
‘‘I feel strongly this project has to be delivered at some point,’’ he said.
Council’s planning and building manager Colin Kalms said funding had been committed to the project in the council’s 2017-18 budget and that it was committed to ‘‘getting on with the project regardless’’, albeit out of its own pocket.
‘‘As we move forward, the council is going to have to fund more of the project than it otherwise would have liked to, given it didn’t get funding under that program,’’ Mr Kalms said.
Mr Kalms said the unsuccessful application likely meant the project would take longer to deliver.
He said other funding options, some for elements of the project, were being explored.
‘‘Our intentions are to keep it moving,’’ he said.
Council’s investment attraction manager Geraldine Christou earlier this year said the funding would have helped to relocate and upgrade the Maude St bus interchange, bus shelters, the development of a new public plaza with waiting facilities, toilets and bicycle parking.
The plan would allow for buses to stop in the north and south carriageways of Maude St and would include improvements to the streetscape between Vaughan St and High St.
It marks the next stage of the council’s central business district revitalisation project, which also includes the Shepparton courthouse, Vaughan St and eventually the Shepparton railway precinct.
In 2015, the council discovered it had been unsuccessful a second time in seeking $3million for the central business district revitalisation project through the former National Stronger Regions Fund.
Disappointed at being overlooked a second time, the council had said the city’s revitalisation project would be delayed as a result and could mean reconsidering its priority.
The project would only ever be delivered if the city was successful in receiving government funding to help out, the council had said at the time.
Project stages have since been re-numbered.
Federal Member for Murray Damian Drum agreed the project missing out on funding was disappointing, but that funding under future rounds of the program was possible.
‘‘Every local member wants to see more and more projects get up from within their electorate,’’ he said.
‘‘Certainly future rounds of (funding) will keep this project a possibility.’’
Mr Drum said feedback on the application would be forthcoming and that he would speak with Regional Development Minister Fiona Nash about the matter.
Under round one of the program, 110 rural, regional and remote projects had shared in almost $220million worth of funding.