PLANS for Gannawarra Shire Council to tap into the "glamping" market have received a boost, with the State Government providing $600,000 towards the Koondrook Nature-Based Tourism Hub.
Minister for Regional Development, Jaala Pulford confirmed yesterday the government's commitment towards the $1.2 million site – to be based adjacent to the Koondrook Caravan Park where the Murray River and Gunbower Creek link up.
The project is one of council's key components of its 2017/18 capital works program, with talks continuing with Federal Member for Mallee, Andrew Broad to see whether the Federal Government will also commit $600,000 from its Building Better Regions program.
"If we do not receive support for the project from the Federal Government at this time, we will have to proceed with the project using two stages of construction," Gannawarra mayor, Cr Brian Gibson said.
The outdoor recreation multi-sport hub will feature six safari-type tents, which incorporate facilities commonly seen in hotel rooms – including bedding, linen and cooking utensils.
Campsites and a camp kitchen will also be developed on the site, with funding to assist with the connection of services, linking trails to the site and the installation of kayak launching facilities in Gunbower Creek.
Once completed, the precinct will complete Koondrook Development Committee's 12-year efforts to improve the banks of the river, which spans Apex Park and the recently completed Koondrook Wharf.
"This project will not only benefit Koondrook and Barham, but the whole area," Koondrook Development Committee president, Bryan Goble said.
"This is the only part of the shire that touches the Murray River, so we need to make the most of it," Cr Gibson said.
Councillors and staff took Ms Pulford on a tour of the site when she visited the area in January, with the pitch helping with efforts to secure the funds.
"The project links in with the Murray River Adventure Trail, as well as connects with the Koondrook-Cohuna Forest Trail and Koondrook-Kerang Rail Trail," council's economic development manager, Roger Griffiths said.
Once completed, it is anticipated the site will a new tourist market to the area – boosting the local economy and creating new jobs.
"We will not grow unless we diversify, and this project will bring people who are environmentally and socially aware, as well as their families, to the area," Mr Griffiths said.