Bold steps forward

It has plenty of historic charm and beauty and yet doesn’t have the pizzazz of its neigbours.

While Yackandandah and Beechworth have a high profile and have long been a success in attracting visitors, Chiltern often has been bypassed.

Indeed, residents have often raised their concerns with Indigo Council that the town does not get as much of a fair go when compared with the other two.

And it is easy to see why this is of such importance to residents.

Yackandandah and Beechworth are thriving while Chiltern, which nevertheless is a strong community in its own right, has perhaps been a bit off the pace.

There is really no reason why that needs to be the case.

That appears to be the positive approach being taken by both the council and the Victorian government in building on what is already great in the town.

That comes with what has been dubbed the Chiltern Town Centre and Connectivity Project, which has now gone out for tender.

The government has kicked $300,000 into the project, which Northern Victoria MLC Jaclyn Symes is confident will create a “coffee culture” in the town.

The work includes a substantial upgrade along Beechworth-Wodonga Road, the works tackling everything from landscaping to the installation of a sculpture.

It’s all about making the stretch far more attractive to visitors.

Added to that are plans for a range or works in Martins Lane, including seating, a shade structure and re-surfacing to match the exposed aggregate of the footpaths.

But the whole project is not just about making Chiltern a more attractive destination for visitors.

That is because a key plank of what will be done involves creating a more attractive town for people to choose to live.

Among the goals of the wider Chiltern Placemaking and Structure Plan is encouraging more young families to settle in the town, a result of them being drawn by the lifestyle and economic benefits of the town.

It is certainly an ambitious and worthy project.

Both the council and the government should be congratulated on for undertaking such a strategic, visionary approach.

The benefits for the town and its residents will be considerable in the years ahead as more people become aware of what has taken place.