Green light for Aspire

Sharon Kemp | Bendigo Weekly | 10-Nov-2017

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BIG ticket items including a new religious precinct and a landmark medium-density housing development in Bendigo will come before City of Greater Bendigo councillors next week, both with recommendations for approval.

Council officers have also recommended a final approval for a contentious urban flood study that will affect another 5500 greater Bendigo residences, either through inclusion or removal from a proposed overlay, the culmination of years of work by the council and the Northern Central Catchment Management Authority.

The Bendigo Urban Flood Study has been challenged by residents who have questioned the accuracy of input data and the  subsequent modelling of flood behaviour in various scenarios.

The council’s agenda outlines the results of a further study commissioned to test the input and modelling, and which found that despite having faults, it was appropriate to be used as basis for an determining a flood overlay.

The University of New South Wales study found that “all flood models are approximations of flood behaviour, especially in complex floodplains such as Bendigo”, the study used the best practice modelling practices but the report could “have been improved by better documentation of information”.

The urban flood study, if ultimately approved by the planning minister, will be used as planning information for managing flood risk.

Among other big items before councillors on Wednesday night is the development proposal for the multi-million-dollar Aspire precinct which will showcase faith on the goldfields.

If it gets the go ahead, the project will include a main interpretive centre with space for permanent and temporary exhibitions, indoor and outdoor areas for community gatherings and events, an education and resource centre with programs for all age groups, and a business hub including a café, retail outlet, spaces for business meetings and events, parishioner and social gatherings and more.

In the council agenda, officers have described Aspire as having positive economic and social impacts for the city “and is a good planning outcome” despite objections based on parking availability.

The proposed Lansell Crest medium-density development in Bendigo East is also up for consideration following a panel and advisory committee report which recommended lifting the cap that limits the number of residences on the land to 65.

Birchgrove Properties has a development plan to build 104 homes in various sizes and price categories.

Council officers described the panel recommendations as an unusual and a solid outcome which demonstrates the council had properly and comprehensively considered the issues in line with planning policy.

Objections to the lifting the cap, and to the development plan, included the level of density and the impact on traffic and neighbourhood character.

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