Each year thousands of people, international and domestic, travel through Gippsland and the Latrobe Valley, bringing $123 million to the local economy (ref) est. Identifying that this tourism provides great economic benefits for small and rural towns and communities, Member for Morwell Russell Northe has today unveiled his Policy Initiative that seeks to implement a Recreational Vehicle (RV) stopover in the Latrobe Valley with the township of Yinnar being an option for a proposed site.
“The RV is a massive and growing industry, yet Latrobe City businesses and communities are currently missing out on this tourism spend. With the future of Hazelwood Pondage under real threat, campers and those using the Hazelwood Pondage caravan park will have limited options in the future,” said Mr Northe.
$1 million was allocated by the State Government nearly 8 years ago to upgrade infrastructure and amenities at Hazelwood Pondage, but this money has never been spent and it is now unlikely to ever be utilised for its initial intended purpose. Surely this money can be re-allocated for the purposes of building an RV stopover in Latrobe City.
“Given the economic impact that the closure of Hazelwood Pondage is having upon the Yinnar business community, the notion of establishing an RV stopover in or near Yinnar could enable the township to capitalise on Latrobe’s strong tourism sector and opportunities to expand the local offer”, Mr Northe said. “This would provide the Yinnar economy with greater opportunities for growth and sustainability which is fitting for a small community who have worked tirelessly to develop their township into a welcoming area for visitors”.
The Yinnar and District Community Association (YDCA) have been working hard and exploring options for this investment to advance the town’s economic development opportunities for some time, and have been strengthening Yinnar’s offer to visitors. This includes implementing a community bus, beautification of the Main Street, development of a skate path, a town website, successful cafe’s, the February Fiddlehead Festival, the Railway Goods Shed Museum, an outdoor play area with public toilets and the establishment of the Arts Resource Collective (ARC) and Gallery – including an artist in residence program.
For many years, an RV stopover based in Rosedale has long been a thriving hub for travellers in the small town, and regularly brings many visitors subsequently boosting the local economy. The Wellington Shire also enjoy new RV facilities in Heyfield. “In my view, it is a crying shame that Latrobe City is unable to offer any complimentary and adequate RV stopovers, too”, Mr Northe said, “this should – and must – change’.