Molong businesses could receive a much-needed boost in business by encouraging tourists to the town to view murals painted on the sides of the massive old grain silos in the town's railway station precinct.
That's the view of Les Dean, who has spent three years pushing the plan and who has formed the Grow Molong group to promote the idea.
However, it has received a mixed reception in the area, with Molong Advancement Group secretary Marj Bollinger saying there are better ways to invest in promoting the town.
Mr Dean has prepared a 17-page document titled Blueprint for Molong Masterplan which outlines how painting the silos, providing a sculpture trail and revitalising the railway station, which would include providing tourist parking, could boost visitor numbers.
He said the success of the Silo Art Trail, which he said had brought increased tourism to towns in north-western Victoria, showed how the project could succeed.
"Molong is ideally situated. It has three major highways coming into it. There are 2500 vehicle movements on the Mitchell Highway every day. We are not capitalising on them," he said.
Mr Dean said the silos could be painted and the other work done at the cost of several hundred thousand dollars, for which he said there were appropriate government grants and funding schemes available.
He said he would like a variety of subjects painted on the silos with themes including the roles explorer Major Thomas Mitchell and Indigenous people played in the region, plus native birds and wildlife.
Mr Dean said he had not yet approached Cabonne Shire Council with his plan.
Ms Bollinger said the plan had been put to community meetings several months ago and had lacked support.
"We're not opposed to the silos being painted," she said.
However, she said the money would be better spent on other projects including creating a history and information park near the railway station.
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She said there were concerns about what would be painted on the silos, a lack of suitable viewing places for motorists, and fears about ongoing costs.
"Are we are creating an asset or a liability for future generations? We just think there are better ways to spend that money."
Ms Bollinger said the group's history park plans had not been put to council.
The Silo Art Trail is promoted as Australia's largest outdoor art gallery with murals of local pioneers painted by leading artists on the sides of Victorian silos. Started in 2016, it covers five Wimmera Mallee region towns spread over 200 kilometres.
Artist Guido van Helten recently painted murals on the Portland cement works silos.
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