‘Miner must stay’

Castlemaine residents have raised concerns about potential plans to move the iconic gold miner monument at the entrance to town to pave the way for traffic lights.
The plan to investigate moving the monument and water feature from the Forest Street roundabout is muted as a ‘low priority’ in Mount Alexander Shire Council’s recently adopted Castlemaine Streetscape Plan.
The issue was hotly debated on local social media over the past week with one commentator questioning why council would consider such a move when many cities in Europe only had roundabouts to aid traffic flow.
Council adopted the Castlemaine Streetscape Plan and Design Standards in June to guide the development of a more attractive and functional commercial centre while working with the historical features of the picturesque 19th century town.
The streetscape plan will guide a number of improvements including safer street crossings, more street trees and enhancements to public spaces.
The design standards provide detail for streetscape elements such as street furniture, paving materials and crossovers.
The plans suggest council ‘investigate the potential to replace the roundabout at Forest Street and Hargraves Street with traffic signals. In consultation with the community, relocate the miner’s statue to a high profile location in Castlemaine’.
Among other low-priority targets are systematically moving powerlines throughout town centre underground and also considering signalising the intersection of Mostyn Street and Barker Street to provide safe access across Barker Street.
Castlemaine resident and local history buff David Williamson said he was opposed to any plans to move the monument.
“With the roundabout being artistic and a well-known Castlemaine icon, reflecting the area’s rich past in relation to the goldfields and also the shire’s passion for the arts, to even consider the removal is incomprehensible,” he said.
Mr Williamson argued that rather than removing the roundabout council should be exploring adding more across the town to improve traffic safety.
“There are a number of other intersections in Castlemaine that could be made safer by the construction of a roundabout, including the busy intersection of Johnstone and Gaulton Streets (Pyrenees Highway) at Winters Flat and the Barker and Templeton Street and Hargraves and Mostyn Street intersections in the CBD,” Mr Williamson said.
A council spokesperson said that a number of recommendations in the plan would result in a change to the existing streetscape and during the detailed design of these projects, further community engagement was required.
“Investigating the potential to replace the roundabout at Forest Street and Hargraves Street with traffic signals is a low priority in the recently adopted Castlemaine Streetscape Plan. We do not have any plans to undertake this work at this stage,” the spokesperson said.
“Council will undertake community consultation before making any major changes to the streetscape.”
Community members can review the streetscape plan on council’s website at www.mountalexander.vic.gov.au/Strategies.

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