Deniliquin Council has started investigating community calls for a riverside tourism development.By Zoe McMaugh
Deniliquin Council will investigate the possibility of opening up land adjacent Edward River Oval for a riverside precinct development.
Mayor Lindsay Renwick said Deniliquin was long overdue to ‘‘get the ball rolling’’ on creating a tourism hub on the river.
There has been a long-held view by many local stakeholders that Deniliquin has under-utilised its picturesque river setting.
Cr Renwick said Deniliquin, and council, needed to do more to capitalise on the Edward River.
Deniliquin Council general manager Mr Bilske admitted funding could be an issue ‘‘going forward with the project’’, but agreed it was time to start seriously looking at riverside development options.
He stressed that a location for the precinct had not been confirmed, but said it would definitely be on the northern side of the river.
Mr Bilske said the idea would be to improve access to the river and therefore it would not be developed on the ‘‘high side’’ (of the river).
‘‘We first need to think about the concept, then decide on a location.
‘‘The concept is to have a precinct along the river, to create a tourism hub and improve access to the river.
‘‘We have not looked at designs and we haven’t even looked at funding.
‘‘At the moment we are throwing a few ideas around.
‘‘If the money was to become available we could probably start next year, but it depends on funding and if any private developers wanted to be involved. It (the development) will probably be way into the future.’’
Even though details of what the development might include have not be determined, councillors have given general manager Des Bilske the green light to investigate all options for a riverside precinct.
Cr Renwick said the river was ‘‘undoubtedly’’ one of the biggest drawcards for tourism in Deniliquin and should not be overlooked.
The mayor’s preferred option would be to expand on Edward River Oval near the National Bridge.
‘‘It may be a pie in the sky project, but the idea is to utilise the river,’’ Cr Renwick said.
‘‘We just don’t utilise the river enough.
‘‘I have asked (council general manager) Des (Bilske) to investigate maintaining land opposite the ute on the pole, because I believe it is owned by The Crown.
‘‘We may be lucky enough to get an elevated restaurant with river views, if a developer wants to do it.
‘‘We just know that we have to get the ball rolling on this.’’
Deniliquin Business Chamber executive officer Lisa Berges welcomed council’s intention to investigate the project, saying it would have far reaching benefits for the community.
Only last week Mrs Berges announced that chamber would like to help drive Deniliquin’s tourism direction.
‘‘It’s good to see council is looking at the options,’’ she said.
‘‘Any form of expansion or development to the area which could help in further enhancing Deniliquin as a retail and hospitality precinct is really positive.
‘‘Chamber would certainly love to see more development on the river, because we know it is one of our main attractions.’’
Mrs Berges said there was ‘‘no reason’’ why Deniliquin could not compete with surrounding towns for tourism, and said a river precinct project would add to the town’s appeal.
Cr Renwick said the riverside development was an idea to come out of community forums, which were held to help guide council’s 10-year strategic plan in October 2011.
Earlier in 2011, community members urged council to set aside land at the Hardinge St and Charlotte St intersection for a similar project.
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