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Meet The Lilydale Project reference group

Published on 11 April 2018


The Lilydale Project reference group began meeting this year to influence and support the development of a long term township master plan for Lilydale.

The plan will co-ordinate Council and community activities and focus on advocacy, infrastructure and attracting investment over the next 20 or more years.

The group is made up of 24 community members and Council Officers who meet once a month.

This approach was inspired by the success of the Yarra Glen People’s Panel and their achievements.

Potential members were selected through a random mail out to more than 800 Lilydale residents from the electoral role, inviting them to express interest in joining.

The final group was selected by an independent panel based on a representative sample including age, gender, volunteer history and connection to Lilydale.

Made up of a broad cross section of the Lilydale community, the group includes enthusiastic young people, wise elders, business owners, volunteers and people with disabilities.

Director of Social and Economic Development Ali Wastie said Council recognised that ensuring Lilydale’s potential was fulfilled as the gateway to the Yarra Valley would benefit the entire municipality.

“The Lilydale Project Reference Group is a great way to harness this energy and to highlight opportunities for change in response to the community’s expressed needs,” Ms Wastie said.

“Lilydale is under the State Government’s spotlight given plans for the level crossing removal on the Maroondah Highway, Cave Hill quarry development, and investment in Box Hill Institute Lakeside Campus.”

Lilydale resident and architecture student Rebecca Andre said she joined the group to use her design skills to make Lilydale a better place to live for future generations.

“It’s been really good to get to know the others in the group. I’m working on developing some designs for the project,” Ms Andre said.

“There has been scope for individuals to take up a portfolio and use their professional experience.”

So far the meetings have focused on the Lilydale Level Crossing Removal, affordable housing, Lilydale Quarry Redevelopment, community planning and discussion about the need for the Lilydale Bypass.

Many people attended the Lilydale Summit in September last year to share their ideas. More than 80 per cent of attendees supported the following projects:

  • New Olinda Creek pathways
  • New pedestrian links and wayfinding
  • Renewal of Lilydale Station precinct
  • Castella Street upgrade
  • New mixed-use medium density development
  • New pedestrian and civic spine from Melba Park to Lillydale Lake
  • Maroondah Highway and Main Street upgrade
  • New Market Square/Town Square


Caption: Steven Foggie, John Rodgers, Max Manning, Timothy Kaddis, Paula Baxter, Nigel Smith, Rebecca Andre and Helen Ruddell


More than 350 votes for projects were cast at the summit. Council is committed to getting further community feedback and refining the project ideas.

Key themes emerging from more than 170 written comments were:

  • respecting the character of Lilydale and its natural environment
  • streetscape improvement
  • better connectivity for cars and people
  • more walking and street life for safety
  • Lilydale as a gateway to the Yarra Valley
  • the dual roles of Lilydale as convenience centre and major service centre
  • ensuring new development comes with adequate parking
  • differing views on the effectiveness of a Lilydale bypass road

The project reference group is discussing the progress of the capital works ideas in response to these themes from the summit.

To get involved in the community planning process for Lilydale register for the Connect Lilydale Workshops, visit:



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3 comment(s) so far...

A fabulous initiative to include community voice. So much potential to both retain and enhance the great attributes of Lilydale as a learning, transport and environmental gateway to the Yarra Valley. Would love to see rail duplication between Lilydale and Mooroolbark and State/Federal Govt investment in tertiary education opportunities.

Paul Morgan | 13 April 2018 08:06 AM | Report to moderator

I support this approach. However, why are the names of the panel members not displayed and a summary of their background and interests not shown? Transparency is a key element when using this approach, If it locks other residents out of the consultation process then it becomes just another secret group of people supposedly representing the community but in reality only representing their own view and interests, In addition, any development should focus on People, and the infrastructure etc. developments should always bear that in mind. The system should be designed to serve the people, not the other way round. Just my views.

Brian M. | 16 April 2018 07:27 AM | Report to moderator

Hi, I am encouraged by the formation of this group. As the representative of a company that specializes in static outdoor exercise equipment, (Kenguru Pro Australia), I visited Lilydale Lake late last year to inspect the fitness station there, at the suggestion of Jon Phillips, a local resident of Lilydale who practices Calisthenics with a group of friends at this site. Jon showed me the existing equipment and explained that he often travels all the way to Elwood to use a workout station there because the equipment at Lilydale Lake is outdated and also falling into disrepair (there is only one chin-up bar and it is wobbly). I was nevertheless very impressed with the park at Lilydale and the the number of people using it. I also noted the new wet play area for children. I think that the only thing that the park lacks is adequate exercise equipment for adults. If the Project Reference Goup is interested, please take a look at our website to get an idea of how far workout stations have evolved from the extant equipment at Lilydale Lake ( Kind regards, Simon.

Simon Andrewartha | 18 May 2018 11:24 AM | Report to moderator

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