Gisborne’s heritage at risk

Some of Gisborne’s earliest heritage could be at risk in the latest plan to upgrade the Kilmore and Melbourne Roads intersection.
The $12.5 million state government upgrade aims to improve traffic flow and deliver safer pedestrian crossing facilities but design may threaten to remove a historic bluestone bridge and significant trees at the town’s gateway.
Regional Roads Victoria says the intersection will be signalised and designed with provision to carry B-double trucks despite no justification given for B-double use and early design options indicating the scale was too large for the town centre.
Mount Macedon Districts Historical Society and Macedon Ranges Shire Council both seek a compromise on the intersection design to preserve township history and character.
Historical society president Frank Porter said it was important to protect what remained of the town’s past.
“There is not a lot of heritage that has been retained in Gisborne, so we’d like to retain what we still have,” he said.
“We want to see the bridge kept in its present form and instead have a structure built over it or near it. It is one of the town’s earliest surviving pieces and is the only bluestone bridge in the township.”
The Bundjil Creek bridge and channel was originally built in 1861 to control flooding and provide a safe route to Gisborne, and reconstructed with bluestone in 1874. Its potential removal has also been red-flagged by the council, which last week lodged a submission outlining various concerns and sought a meeting with RRV about design. It will also consider engaging a heritage consultant to understand the significance of the area.
Moving the motion, Councillor Jennifer Anderson said heritage emerged as a high priority for residents and the council needed to gain as much information as possible to guide decision-making.
Council’s submission outlined pedestrian safety concerns, loss of open space and heritage, along with likely loss of several oak and elm trees that were planted at the time of settlement.
The council stated many of these trees had been “incrementally lost” over the years and raised concern over the potential cumulative loss of trees through several proposed intersection upgrades. More than 30 trees are planned for removal for the Station Road upgrade upgrade and potentially more for an upgrade at Station Road and Aitken Street.

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