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Cobram Barooga's tourism treasures thanked

Moira Shire Council hosts morning tea to thank volunteers and forge new restructured path for tourism in the region.

ROB HENSON August 18, 2014 3:47am

Volun-tea: Moira Shire Council staff thank scores of Cobram Barooga Tourism Information Centre's tourism ambassadors at a morning tea on Thursday.


Moira Shire Council has applauded the many Cobram residents who regularly talk up the town’s tourism.

It has been estimated the volunteers collecively have dedicated up to 250 years of service.

Council hosted a morning tea on Thursday at the Cobram Visitor Information Centre to thank the about 35 tourism ambassadors for their volunteer work, with each receiving a pack of produce from the Farm Gate Trail.

It comes after a restructure of tourism management, with some volunteers still bitter over a lack of consultation.

Moira Shire manager of economic development Bruce Connolly thanked the ambassadors who were ‘‘the face of tourism’’.

‘‘When people walk in the door (of information centres) they’re the first you see. They’re giving up their time during the week and on weekends,’’ Mr Connolly said.

‘‘Given all the changeover in tourism, this was an opportunity to talk it through and make sure volunteers understand a few things.’’

Employees at the visitor centre were let go and allowed to reapply for their previous role. Mr Connolly said one position at the centre was now vacant.

He said the Punt Rd heritage building would also receive a ‘‘makeover’’.

‘‘To make it a bit more contemporary — new counters, paint job. It’s a heritage building so everything needs to be approved.’’

Moira tourism development officer Louise Munk Klint said the morning tea acknowledged all the good work the volunteers had done, as well as an opportunity to look to the future.

‘‘The ambassadors are truly important to the visitors’ service and the wider region,’’ she said.

Plans are in motion for revamped trails from Barooga to Tocumwal as part of the Murray River Adventure Trail.

‘‘We’ve lots of opportunities for businesses to link into it, say trail operators or cafes.’’

Also in the pipeline is a It’s Fishing Country brochure, displaying key fishing spots, species and other information for visiting anglers.

Ms Munk Klint said such a brochure had worked well elsewhere as well as other fishing infrastructure.

‘‘Floating jetties, boat ramps — there are grants out there for these sorts of facilities.’’

Murray Regional Tourism is also conducting a survey of businesses affected by the dramatic drop in river levels at Easter. Ms Munk Klint said this would assist in lobbying for high river levels.

Tourism ambassador for several years Faye Burns said she ‘‘just loves meeting people’’.

‘‘I find it rewarding and doing something for the town.’’

The volunteers work on a monthly roster and donate roughly half a day per month.

A talk with a visitor usually begins with the Farm Gate Trail, among many other brochures advertising the region.

Ms Burns said the upheaval in the tourism restructure was ‘‘upsetting’’ for many, with some leaving their volunteer work.

‘‘No-one knew anything, lot’s of things flying around, we were very cheesed off.

‘‘I’ve lived here 38 years, and it was the first time I was disappointed with the information centre.’’

Rumours circulated that the visitor information centre would be entirely volunteer-run, or even closed, but the rumours were dismissed by council which now runs the centre.

‘‘Hopefully some can put it behind them, some can’t, but I’m looking ahead,’’ Ms Burns said.

She urged Cobram residents to ‘‘be more interested’’ in tourism.

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