Visitor centre nearing revamp

By Daniel Hughes

Plans to knock down the Tocumwal Information Centre are fully underway and nearing the final stages.

Last year plans were introduced by the Berrigan Shire Council to knock down the building and adjoining amenities so a new centre can be built.

It will be a two-storey building, with the information centre on the bottom level and a hospitality level on top.

Berrigan Shire general manager Rowan Perkins described the location and what it will mean for Tocumwal.

“The upper storey of the building will capture the river,” he said.

“It will likely be one of the best locations for a hospitality business along the Murray which is exciting for the further development of our town.

“We’re in the process of finalising the plans in the next four to six weeks with the leasing opportunities opening up soon for expressions of interest.”

However, the plans have not gone uncontested as Tocumwal shop owner Lynne George says a new hospitality business might cause problems for existing eateries in town.

“Tocumwal has 15 food outlets and seven of these are open for meals at night; a new restaurant would make a number of them unviable,” she said.

“Berrigan Shire Council is not in the business of providing entrepreneurial opportunities.”

Ms George is concerned that no survey or consultation was undertaken with townspeople.

However, according to Mr Perkins this was not the case. He said when consultation was undertaken, council received positive feedback to its plans.

“So far we’ve had lots of interest from parties both within Tocumwal and from outside,” he explained.

“We had very extensive consultations with community members about the project and had a really positive response from the majority of the community, they were very enthusiastic about the plans.”

Mr Perkins believes the project is in the best interest of the town’s future and those who are opposed to it are welcome to submit expressions of interest to move into the building.

“For the hospitality industry and for our town’s future development within local and tourist industries, it’s the case of the more the better,” he said.

“The people who are against this are welcome to put forward and expression of interest to move in to the new restaurant.

“The plans are set now and it’s going to move forward as part of our larger foreshore revamp project.”

A meeting for all community members was held yesterday at the Tocumwal Antiques & Tea Rooms to discuss further action that needs to be taken to prevent a new hospitality business being established.