Lilydale needs a heart

Traffic making its way through Lilydale. 194090 Picture: ROB CAREW

 Lilydale is at a turning point in its history and it needs a heart.

That’s what Lilydale and District Historical Society president Sue Thompson told the 28 May Yarra Ranges Council meeting.

She spoke in favour of the Lilydale Place Plan (LPP), which councillors agreed to endorse and place on public exhibition for four weeks.

Ms Thompson was on the Lilydale Project Reference Group (LPRG) that informed the plan.

The plan will guide the council’s decisions for infrastructure, programs and services for Lilydale to achieve maximum positive impact for the community.

Ms Thompson described the document as the “foundations of Lilydale’s future”.

“Lilydale is at a turning point in its history,” she said.

She said it had remained unchanged in decades, with its wide streets and a top and bottom end of town.

But it’s also home to modern buildings, modern transport and lots of people.

“We have to provide modern facilities and cater for the needs of today,” she said.

“It is a balancing act, but one that we think can be achieved.”

Ms Thompson said Lilydale needed to be transformed into a “living city” and this would require funding.

She said the council needed to promote the place plan to get the community supportive and involved, and needed to deliver on a project from the plan.

“Let’s get on with it and transform Lilydale from a tired, heartless place into a place of vision,” she said.

Top of Ms Thompson’s wish list for Lilydale is a town centre.

“Lilydale has no heart. It’s got no focus,” she said.

She said a ‘heart’ could include a commercial kitchen for looking after homeless, rooms for classes, art spaces and meeting spaces.

The LPRG included 12 community members and 12 council officers and met monthly throughout last year.

Other key ideas that community members touted for Lilydale included focusing population growth within the town centre, supporting local jobs and businesses, improve traffic and transport connections, and improving public spaces and walking amenity.

Visit www.yarraranges.vic.gov.au to comment on the plan.