Benalla to benefit from $2.5 million investment

By Simon Ruppert

An extended boardwalk, free community wi-fi, a floating pontoon for events, and a new playground are just some of the exciting developments announced at the Benalla Rural City Council Meeting last Wednesday.

Plans for the further redevelopment of the Lakeside Precinct and CBD were unanimously passed at the meeting.

The projects are moving forward after Benalla Rural City Council successfully received funding from the Victorian Government to stimulate the local economy and help ease the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It has received $2 million from the Victorian Government for building works and the council will contribute $500 000, taking the total project value to $2.5 million.

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Benalla Rural City's chief executive officer Dom Testoni told the meeting that the development was an exciting prospect for the town.

“I think this is a fantastic opportunity for Benalla with the money we have been offered through the Victorian State Government (to develop) what we're calling a lakeside precinct.

“There are also some projects in the CBD which this will fund.

“There are 17 in total which are summarised in the agenda.”

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That summary read as follows:

1. As Benalla expands car parking, footpaths and streetscape are vital for accessibility and the livability of the town. Six projects are associated with the upgrade and addition of new car parks, the upgrading of key CBD roads, the uplifting of the CBD streetscape, a new footpath to the planned visitor information centre (VIC) and museum upgrade, and new and upgraded lighting to the Lakeside precinct which will link the newly built car park to the Mural precinct.

2. In recognition of the importance of arts and culture, five projects are planned that will see the creation of an interpretive trail around the lake precinct, enhancement of the Aboriginal gardens with a raised boardwalk of approximately 150 m in length, a refurbished VIC and museum building, repairs to the popular lake fountain and the construction of a floating pontoon that can be used for special events and the visitor economy.

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3. Enhancements to the library and community markets precinct will see upgrades to the public toilets, a covered barbecue area, power upgrades for the vendors at the markets and the sealing of the dirt road where the markets are located. Added to this is the planned integration of smart technology with the placement of smart benches around the precinct and the addition of community free wi-fi.

4. In addition to the newly constructed splash park will be the addition of a playground with the inclusion of boulder units for a range of ages to enjoy.

● More to come.