Skip to main content
Mayors Message - 21 February 2023

Mayors Message - 21 February 2023

Tuesday 21 February 2023
Cr Michael Whelan

The population across Bass Coast increased by 25 per cent in the past five years. With continued population growth predicted, investment in the public realm is essential to ensuring a high quality of life for our community.

Bass Coast Shire Council is committed to making sure that our residents and visitors have access to vibrant public spaces. We are investing in improving parks and recreational activities, arts and culture, and projects such as the Cowes Cultural and Community Centre opening in 2023 and Wonthaggi’s new regional play space Guide Park complement these works and drive increased private investment in our towns.

Our shared public spaces are the critical often form the heart of our community. Great public spaces are not only more efficient, but they can lift the mood, enhancing social interaction, retail opportunities and employment.

With an eye towards reinvigorating the character of our towns, we are creating a series of interconnected spaces that will bring life back to the streets, and put people first by making them easier to access with new pedestrian crossings.

Wonthaggi, our regional centre, will take full advantage of its wide footpaths while the stunning Esplanade in Cowes will become a focal point. Bass Coast Shire Council have engaged Hansen Partnership to prepare a Master Plan for the Wonthaggi Activity Centre Streetscape. The purpose of this Master Plan is to identify how the township centre should be developed to meet the strategic objectives identified in the 2021-25 Council Plan..

The Cowes Streetscape Master Planning project entails the redesign and improvement of Cowes main community and visitor activity hub on Thompson Avenue, from The Esplanade to Church Street. Streetscape redevelopment will respond to population and tourism growth by delivering an attractive social, dining and retail environment, prioritising pedestrian use, generating investment and creating jobs.

To fund these developments we are asking the Federal and State governments to partner with us. We are seeking a combined $30 million investment to transform our townships.

We’ve made a start. Works are already underway on the Cowes and Wonthaggi Streetscapes projects, as well as addressing the need for town planning to accommodate growth and changing demographics. This will also be required in other townships across the region and town plans will be developed for San Remo and Inverloch

If our funding advocacy is successful, we will also focus on improving tracks and trails throughout the region making our towns more bike and pedestrian friendly, which will improve safety.

Council’s advocacy also means meeting directly with Ministers, Shadow Ministers and department representatives to progress community priorities, as well as leveraging partnerships with One Gippsland and Peri Urban Councils Victoria.

Creative landscaping, smart city infrastructure and improved streetscapes will all contribute to the transformation of our towns, but we need our state and federal governments to do their bit for the people of Bass Coast.