Vic, Port project
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Vic, Port project

By Kathryn Maddox
September 26 2008
Riverine Herald, Echuca
A major Port of Echuca redevelopment was given the go ahead last week.
Campaspe Shire council endorsed the port concept plan, released in two parts in draft format last year, at its September meeting.
The plan's recommendations totalled $17.37 million with various funding opportunities to be considered as part of a range of projects to stem from the review.
Some of the plan's major recommendations included the development of the `Paddlesteamer Capital' theme, returning Riverboat Dock (opposite Hopwood Gardens) to a river park, creating a rail link between the Visitor Information Centre and the port and a long-term consideration to revitalise the loco shed as an extension of a broader port scope.
Other key recommendations included the development of a central interpretive centre and a proposal to use the Onion Patch as an alternate mooring zone for historic paddlesteamers.
The port review featured a concept plan and a report into governance and operating arrangements.
The plan will see the Port of Echuca Authority abolished and the formation of an advisory board.
The Port Precinct Strategic Advisory Board will be made up of nine members; two community representatives; a Campaspe and Murray shire representative, an Echuca-Moama Tourism representative, two heritage representatives, the port business manager and an approved operator.
The board will prepare an annual strategic plan which will be considered by council as part of its planning cycle.
A regulatory subcommittee, made up of Campaspe and Murray shire representatives, NSW Lands representatives, the crew and transport manager and possibly NSW Maritime, was also recommended.
Two full-time and one part-time management positions and a full-time regional events manager will be created as a result of the review.
The full-time manager roles will see a port business manager and a transport and shipwright manager appointed, while the part-time role will be a paddlesteamer manager.
The review also considered the ongoing silt problem at the wharf and identified the need for the port to manage its own silt problem, with consideration to be given to asking operators to make a contribution to manage silt and maintain mooring infrastructure.
Other recommendations included plans to adopt performance measures for the port, recognising operating results and the broader economic contribution to the region.
Moves to implement a rail connection between the Visitor Information Centre and the port will see discussion with stakeholders to identify activities required to reintroduce the link and complement flagged plans to create extra parking at the centre.
Future plans to turn Riverboat Dock into a river park would see the 11 boats moored at the dock offered docking locations at and next to the wharf, however council cannot impose the relocation.
"Establishment of this river park will enable the creation of a premier tourist leisure zone," the plan said.
The plan paves the way for funding requirements to be better understood and sought as required.
Mayor John Elborough said finalisation and endorsement of the concept plan would help complete the port vision.
"This provides the community with a clear understanding of the future direction of the Port of Echuca and provides an assurance of council's commitment to this precinct," he said.
"The Shire of Campaspe is involved with the port for two reasons: protection of heritage assets and traditional skills and economic contribution to the region" the plan said.
While successful in the past, the port operation had suffered reduced visitation as visitors expected more from modern day attractions, according to Cr Elborough.
"The concept plan proposes a way forward for the Port of Echuca operation and precinct, with a focus on providing a balanced outcome," he said.
The plan listed the path forward as: recruiting management positions; appointing advisory board; dissolving relevant committees previously in place; preparing mooring management procedures and developing funding applications.
Council sought public submissions to the draft concept plan and management and governance draft report earlier this year.
A copy of the concept plan is available at http://www.campaspe.vic.gov.au


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