First sod turned on Riverfront Activation project

Works to upgrade Horsham’s riverfront pathways are set to be completed within the next 12 months, after Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack turned the first sod on Monday to start construction on the first of the region’s much-anticipated Riverfront Activation projects.

Horsham Rural City Council successfully applied for both state and federal government to enhance and activate the Wimmera River Precinct and its link to the Central Activity District of Horsham.

“We appreciate the Commonwealth Government’s contribution of $1.65 million and also the Victorian Government grant of $500,000. Council is contributing funding of $850,000 towards this first stage,” Mayor Robyn Gulline said.

“We are delighted to have Mr McCormack in Horsham for what is an exciting day for our regional city,” she said.

The first project to start is the widening and sealing of the entire stretch of shared use paths from Horsham City Rowing Club to the Wimmera Bridge. New park benches and bin surrounds will also be installed along the foreshore.

The Riverfront Activation Project is the first stage of the City to River Masterplan, a 20-year plan to make Horsham a more attractive place to live, work, visit and invest.

“In April 2020 an enthusiastic Community Reference Group was formed to work closely with Council and design architects to develop the concept plan,” Cr Gulline said.

“We thank them for their willingness to work on this important project and present the plan to our community that was endorsed by Councillors in September last year.”

Cr Gulline said the project would create a riverfront arrival point at the end of Firebrace Street.

“This will be a civic gathering place with siting for a cafe to be constructed in the future,” she said.

“The scope of works also includes riverfront activity nodes that will allow people access to enjoy the river (for fishing or sitting), outdoor seating areas, new universal design public amenities, creative landscaping with trees, grass and garden beds, signage and lighting upgrades, cultural artwork and external upgrades to the angling clubrooms including a new pergola structure – all designed to add to the natural beauty of the Wimmera River.

“We now look forward to the construction phase which will take about 12 months to complete,” Cr Gulline said.

Cr Gulline said Council was also delighted to last week receive confirmation of funding for the Horsham Nature and Water Play Park – set to be the second riverfront project implemented.

“The $2.45 million park is being funded entirely by higher levels of government.”

“The project that will be an amazing regional attraction and allow people to make the most of our riverfront,” she said.

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