City a growing attraction

MAKING A SPLASH: An artist's impression of the pool. The approval for aquatics facilities is just one of the developments under way in Wangaratta.
MAKING A SPLASH: An artist's impression of the pool. The approval for aquatics facilities is just one of the developments under way in Wangaratta.

Wangaratta has long been known as a beautiful tourist location.

A spot of lunch and coffee by the Ovens River, a gateway to the beautiful alps and, of course, the fantastic local produce on offer is a real treat.

In Wangaratta, we don't struggle for employment, we need employees.

Wangaratta Mayor Dean Rees

It's still all of those things, of course. But Wangaratta is developing fast.

And a conversation with Mayor Dean Rees leaves one in no doubt about the city's mission to not only encourage families from Melbourne to come for the tourism attractions but to stay and make it a place to call home.

The council's recent approval of plans for residential growth corridors in the north-west and south-east of the city link in perfectly with this goal.

Cr Rees said this re-zoning of hundreds of acres of land to residential was now only awaiting the final seal of approval from the state government.

"All the hard work is done - we're just now awaiting approval (from the government)," he said.

Cr Rees said the council was also investing about $10 million in the Cruse Street extension, which would link up with the new north-west growth corridor.

This project will include constructing a 1.5km road from Cruse Street to Worland Road; a 1.5km shared path; and a three-span bridge over Three Mile Creek.

Also making a splash in the city was the council's recent green light for aquatics facilities at Barr Reserve, including a new FINA-approved 50-metre pool, hydrotherapy pool and splash pad.

Cr Rees said while the growth corridors were about building housing, this project was about building community, with a complex that would last for generations to come. In terms of manufacturing, Cr Rees said in a recently completed development of 12 spaces on Murrell Street, 11 had been pre-sold and included organisations that were expanding and needed more space as well as new businesses.

"In Wangaratta, we don't struggle for employment, we need employees," he said.

Cr Rees said this was why the development of residential growth corridors was key - the jobs were there but the land for housing was also vital.

Also of importance to the community was expanding the city's health precinct, including the council's go-ahead for a $14 million project to expand St Catherine's aged care facility, meaning a further boost for community as well as jobs.

It all comes together to create so much more for Wangaratta: the CBD, white collar jobs, manufacturing, schools and health services and growth corridors for housing. Watch this space.

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