A former City of Greater Shepparton mayor says the discussion about the destroyed Mooroopna Railway Station should expand to looking at its possible relocation.
Mooroopna-based councillor Dennis Patterson wants the community to consider not just the structure that replaces the former station house, destroyed by a fire on January 13.
People should also contemplate whether the existing site was the best for the future needs of the town’s station.
He said community consultation about what the replacement station looked like presented a rare opportunity for Mooroopna residents to have a say and influence whether its location was ideal and effect a relocation, if warranted.
Cr Patterson’s personal view is that safer sites with better access, more space for parking and amenity existed, including at a site nearby on Toolamba Rd.
Last month, Victorian Transport Minister Jacinta Allan announced consultation on the Mooroopna station would begin this month, with the aim to ensure feedback was about developing a Mooroopna station suitable to the community’s needs.
‘‘We will build passenger facilities that serve the community well and connect the station to Mooroopna,’’ Ms Allan said.
She said a constructive community conversation about a future station was wanted.
‘‘We’ve already started some of those conversations and further consultation will be undertaken (this month) as we plan for new station facilities for Mooroopna,’’ she said.
V/Line chief executive James Pinder said Ms Allan had made ‘‘a commitment in principle to enable whatever the passengers that use the Mooroopna station need in the future’’.
A temporary shelter was installed at the station after the fire and power reconnected shortly after.
‘‘I’m suggesting we take this opportunity to look at all the options available, not just what sort of building we put on the current station,’’ Cr Patterson said.
‘‘It’s like a ghost town down there... it doesn’t strike me as a very safe area.’’
Cr Patterson flagged a site south of the town on Toolamba Rd — about 500m from the existing station — as a possibility, but said he was open to all options and just wanted the conversation to begin.
‘‘As a community, we need to look at all the options, because this is a very unique opportunity we have,’’ he said.
Cr Patterson said if the Shepparton line reached its eventual goal of eight return services per day in the near future, there would likely be increased demand on parking at the Mooroopna station, a possibility he added should be considered.
He also speculated if patronage at the station was not deemed significant, the town could be at risk of losing its station altogether.
‘‘I’m encouraging people to think about it, come along to the forum, make their suggestions and consider the options,’’ he said.
‘‘I think as a community we’d be doing the wrong thing by constituents not to look at all our options.
‘‘Because this will be the one opportunity we have in a very long time to make some changes to our rail system in Mooroopna.’’
Cr Patterson wanted a station that could be an asset to the town going forward, adding the demographics and growth corridors of the town could be considered.
He understood plenty of infrastructure and planning boxes needed to ticked off for any new location, but said the question needed to be asked.