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Redevelopment

The Cox Street redevelopment project in Hamilton has been deferred until the next financial year, as the Southern Grampians Shire Council seeks further funding to complete the works.

Council got on the front foot to dispel rumours circling that the redevelopment had fallen through, stating that the original costs had blown out significantly.

The project is currently jointly funded by Council and the State Government with an overall project budget of $4.6 million.

It was originally estimated that the cost of the works would be around that figure with the project estimate based on both the initial concept designs completed by Michael Smith and Associates

The detailed designs were completed by Meinhardt Engineering in November 2018.

Tenders were advertised in May this year and five submissions were received ranging from $8.8 million to $14 million in price.

Southern Grampians Shire Mayor, Cr Mary-Ann Brown, said council remained committed to the

redevelopment of the Hamilton CBD.

“The Cox Street project builds on the significant strategic planning and urban design initiatives prepared for Hamilton, as part of the Hamilton Masterplan adopted in 2011,” she said.

“We remain committed to creating an entrance to the Hamilton CBD that increases civic pride for locals in their town and increases business investment and tourism opportunities.

“We are disappointed at having to delay the commencement of the project, however, given the

tenders we received were all considerably higher than anticipated, we really have no other option.

“We just aren’t prepared to invest any further community money into the project.

“The CEO and myself will now seek to meet with both Minister for Roads Jaala Pulford and Minister for Regional Development Jaclyn Symes, to progress the discussion to deliver the shortfall.

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Cr Brown said shire staff were confident the project would eventually be completed, with the support of crucial state services.

“We are confident the project has the support of both Regional Development Victoria and Regional

Roads Victoria and have had some encouraging discussions already,” Cr Brown said.

“However, should we be unable to secure external funding prior to July next year, council will need to discuss options for the future direction of the project.”

The Cox Street redevelopment aims to activate prime retail frontage, create new jobs, address access and safety issues and improve community amenity at the major entrance into Hamilton.

It is the first of five stages in the Hamilton CBD revitalisation project that represent sequenced design and construction phases over the next decade including Melville Oval and Lonsdale Street, Botanic Gardens and Gray Street, Brown and Thompson Streets, and French and Kennedy Streets.

Work will continue this financial year on stage two of the CBD Revitalisation Masterplan.

The plan consists of detailed designs for Gray Street, Lonsdale Street and Melville Oval, which aims to explore options to improve walking and cycling, introduce public art and signage, improve public spaces and parking, as well as improvements to landscaping.

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