Cash granted for Maude St Plaza and bus interchange project

By Thomas Moir

They say third time is a charm.

But it proved fourth time lucky for Greater Shepparton City Council, after on three occasions being overlooked for federal funding to redevelop a south section of the central business district into an improved bus interchange and public plaza.

After being unsuccessful with the first round of the Federal Government’s Building Better Regions Fund, and twice before that with the fund’s predecessor, the National Stronger Regions Fund, the government yesterday came to the party with almost $1.7million to fund the project.

Previous council applications lodged to the fund had asked for a $3million contribution.

But despite the council chipping in a larger portion of funding for the $5million project, chief executive Peter Harriott remained upbeat about yesterday’s announcement.

‘‘The federal funding just helps us to ensure we get on with this next stage and then we’re already looking forward to what the next component would be,’’ he said.

The council is wasting no time with getting on with completing the project — Mr Harriott said work virtually started yesterday.

Three of the four stages of the project had been dependent on the ‘‘expected funds’’, according to a council project webpage.

Mr Harriott said moves were being made on future stages of the broader CBD revitalisation concurrently, which aims to eventually better link the city’s railway station with the CBD.

For now, securing this funding means ticking this stage off and moving to the next one.

‘‘We had several goes at this project, or versions ... it’s great to see it finally get up and be successful,’’ Mr Harriott said.

Mr Harriott said the end result would be the same as if one of the previous attempts had been successful.

‘‘It just means the council funds a bit more than we’re anticipating,’ he said.

‘‘Previous applications are history ... (we’re) appreciative that this one’s been successful.’’

Under the plan, the south end of Maude St is set for a facelift in the coming years, as the plaza space is created, a bus interchange goes south and the Vaughan St and Maude St intersection roundabout disappears.

Federal MP Damian Drum said the federal funding program was typically over-subscribed.