Autumn Festival plans released

March and April are a popular time for visitors keen to explore open gardens and the spectacular colours of autumn in the Macedon Ranges.

Macedon Ranges Shire Council has released its plans to manage the influx of visitors expected for the Autumn Festival in April. 

Last week, MRSC told residents that “limited temporary measures will be reinstated along Honour Avenue and surrounds” during the festival. 

The council stated the decision followed “a comprehensive review that has prompted council to refocus on its core responsibilities”. 

Mount Macedon’s Avenue of Honour has long been a destination for those seeking out the changing autumn leaves but its escalating popularity has created traffic and visitor behaviour headaches for local residents. 

MRSC’s Autumn Festival launched with the aim of dispersing some of those visitors to other areas across the shire through planned themed events. 

However, the Avenue of Honour remains at the top of most visitor lists. 

To help manage the influx of visitors, from late March through to May 12 (Mother’s Day weekend), temporary signage will be installed along Honour Avenue and other council-managed roads, to highlight and enforce no parking zones. 

Then from March 29 (Good Friday) through to Sunday, April 28, on weekends and public holidays, traffic management personnel will enforce a full road closure along the same section of road from 8am to 6pm. 

The road closure is for public safety and in anticipation of higher visitation on these days. 

Extra toilet and waste facilities will also be provided in the immediate area. 

Residents/guests within the road closure area will be provided with exemption passes in addition to multilingual signage to display on their properties. 

“The Autumn Festival helps to disperse visitors and economic benefits across the shire, but we acknowledge that people continue to be drawn to Honour Avenue and council is working to proactively communicate expectations with visitors before they arrive,” the mayor, Cr Annette Death said. 

“We are committed to supporting residents and this year’s core safety measures reflect that, but it became clear that pursuing extended measures over the longer term would not be financially sustainable or responsible without external support. 

“We are however working closely with our partner agencies, such as the Department of Transport and Planning and Victoria Police, on areas they are responsible for such as Mount Macedon Road and the Calder Highway, and providing advice to our local community groups and businesses who may wish to explore further temporary measures to improve amenity of the area on busy days.” 

Cr Death thanked local residents who provided feedback during the review.