Each year thousands of people travel to Gippsland and the Latrobe Valley, bringing $123 million to the local economy (ref). Tourism provides great economic benefits for small and rural towns, allowing them to grow and thrive.
Currently, there is not a recreational vehicle (RV) site in Latrobe City that provides free or low-cost camp facilities and amenities such as drinking water, road access, toilets or a dump site, rubbish disposal, picnic tables, BBQ’s, powered site’s and shade. 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. There is now a new service based at Heyfield, also in the Wellington Shire.
What a shame that Latrobe City is unable to offer a complimentary and adequate RV stopover for the thousands of travellers. $1 million was allocated by the State Government in 2013 (ref), to upgrade infrastructure and amenities at Hazelwood Pondage Caravan Park, but this money has never been spent. Surely, this money can be re-allocated for the purposes of building an RV stopover in Latrobe City. In the event the Hazelwood Pondage caravan park does not remain viable, the township of Yinnar would make a pristine location. It is a quiet, picturesque area, and serves as the gateway to the southern high-country and further south, to the coast. Members of the Yinnar and District Community Association (YDCA) have been researching and advocating for this investment to advance the town’s economic development opportunities for three years.
I propose that a RV stopover be developed in Latrobe City. An option could be at the township of Yinnar to capitalise on this tourism and provide the town with greater opportunities for growth and sustainability. I feel this would be fitting for this particular small community, who have already been working hard to develop their township into a welcoming area for visitors. Their initiatives include; the community bus, beautification of the Main Street, development of a skate path, a town website, successful cafe’s, establishment of the Arts Resource Collective (ARC) and Gallery – including an artist in residence program – the February Fiddlehead Festival, the Railway Goods Shed Museum, and an outdoor play area with public toilets.
An RV facility has the capacity to capitalise on the tourism industry in the Latrobe Valley and provide greater services to those travelling through the electorate. Not only is this better for our roads and the people using them in providing a fully functioning rest stop, but it also provides the local businesses of Yinnar a way to grow and employ more people during peak times.
This initiative is about providing a new avenue of growth for our local tourism industry, attracting travellers, and create an asset for the hardworking people of Yinnar who will be able to prosper long into the future, with such an opportunity.