Council taking the lead on Ararat East Development Zone

Posted Wednesday 20 February, 01:42pm

Ararat Rural City Council has endorsed a plan to establish a new development zone in Ararat and start work on stage one, committing $300,000 to improving access to the site.

The Ararat East Development Zone includes the former Aradale site, Melbourne Polytechnic operations, an industrial and mixed-use site, and areas of land next to Green Hill Lake.

Ararat Rural City Council CEO Dr Tim Harrison said the site has huge potential and provides an opportunity for Council to partner with Regional Development Victoria (RDV) to attract education, tourism, residential and industrial development.

Dr Harrison said the first stage of the Ararat East Development Zone project would be in two parts, with the Council working with RDV to obtain funding.

“Firstly, we want to improve access to the site so the Western Highway at the Heath Street intersection will be widened to provide a slip lane for Ararat-bound traffic,” he said.

“We also want to improve safety at the train level crossing on Heath Street to cope with higher traffic volumes. These initial works would cost around $750,000 with funding being sought from RDV.”

Mayor Cr Peter Beales said the project was a fantastic opportunity for Council to take a leadership role in developing an interesting multi-use zone capable of attracting significant economic and social benefits to the community.

“We are really excited about the site’s potential and particularly happy to give Aradale some much-needed attention,” Cr Beales said.

“We would love to see Aradale, it’s buildings and surrounding land developed and used again and we’re sure the community would love to see that happen too.”

Dr Harrison said the whole area is underused and opening up the zone would provide a clear impetus to attract further investment and reinvent the site.

“Within the area, Melbourne Polytechnic has established a 30-hectare vineyard, 250-tonne winery, four-hectare lavender farm and extensive training facilities. The former Aradale property includes 63 buildings of which a number are protected by a heritage overlay,” Dr Harrison said.

"Other opportunities lie in establishing the McLellan Street linkage to Grano Street via Alfred street, currently zoned industrial, and residential development opportunities exist in the area near Green Hill Lake, where there is land zoned residential.

“There’s a real need for high-value residential development to support Ararat Rural City’s growth, and the Council would really like to see that land used in this way.”