Montrose may be a quaint village, but the community spirit gives it a huge heart.
After a solid three years of gathering community opinions and input, the Montrose Township Group have compiled the 2021-2024 Montrose Community Plan, with responses further signifying the love locals have for their foothills suburb.
Member of Montrose Township Group, Chelsey Cooper said the township group began consulting the community in 2018, with support from Yarra Ranges Council’s Community Partnerships and Wellbeing team.
“About three years ago we thought it was time for us to start engaging with the community to figure out what we love about the place and what we want our future to look like,” Ms Cooper said.
“We had a community ideas day three years ago and people came together to talk about what is great, what could be better and that began a process of community surveys, Facebook polls and attending monthly markets and the community festivals asking people what they love, what could be better and what they want the future to look like for our town,” she said.
More than 330 people and 25 groups, including kindergartens, schools, sporting clubs, community organisations, businesses and churches submitted feedback during the process.
Ms Cooper said an overwhelming majority of responses expressed the importance of “maintaining the village feel”.
“The definition of what that means to people is that we know one another, it is easy to get around, that we care and support each other, people really want to hold onto that,” she said.
“The second thing was a really deep value and connection to place. That was in relation to our environment, we live in such a gorgeous place, let’s take care of it.
Another idea that surfaced as a result of community consultation was the establishment of a community emergency management plan.
“In response to our bushfire risk, a terrible windstorm last year that left us without power for days on end and then Covid-19, we received this idea of establishing an emergency management plan. Part of our role is to provide opportunities to make strong connections with each other. We have done networking meetings with community leaders and if something were to happen we could call on each other,” Ms Cooper said.
The group also plans to hold clean up days, working bees and other community events to develop intergenerational learning and skill-sharing and increase sustainability of local reserves.
“The plan is basically for all of us to lend a hand in whatever way we can,” Ms Cooper said.