Info centre survives chop

KORUMBURRA’S visitor information centre is safe for now, but the long term future of the centres in South Gippsland remains uncertain.

Council last Wednesday voted to defer consideration of the future of the Korumburra centre until council officers suggest how council could transition to a digital tourism strategy that would direct further tourism services online.

Council voted to also retain the information centre at Foster in the mean time.

A report to council had recommended the closure of the Korumburra centre by July 31 this year, as a result of council’s Visitor Information Services Review 2016-17.

That review found fewer people were using the Korumburra centre than the centre at Foster, resulting in each walk-in visitor at Korumburra costing council $22.71 compared to $13.01 at Foster.

The Korumburra community and the regional tourism body Prom Country Regional Tourism had called for the Korumburra centre to stay, although Lyn Atkinson, acting president of the Foster Community Association, welcomed the recommendation to close the Korumburra centre and retain the Foster centre.

In the wake of council’s decision, Korumburra Business Association president Noelene Cosson told The Star, “The decision certainly wasn’t our preferred option as we were hoping that the motion on the agenda would have been defeated and things would remain as is.

“The amended motion will see Korumburra VIC (visitor information centre) stay open in the interim.  This is the best outcome for a difficult situation. It will give the shire, the service provided, the staff, the volunteers and the community more time to evaluate alternative ways of delivering the services that the centre provides.

“Our business association will continue its pursuit to make sure locals and visitors to South Gippsland get the best option available when seeking tourist information. We will continue to ensure the marketing name for South Gippsland ‘Prom Country’ becomes more connected, prominent and familiar for both locals and tourists.”

Cr Aaron Brown successfully moved for council to defer its decision about Korumburra and recognised more tourists were researching online.

He said the recommendation to close the Korumburra centre “did not give Korumburra a clear and fair outcome”.

“We need to ensure we have a strategy in place. We need to do justice to Korumburra as the first town in the shire that people go through,” he said.

Cr Jeremy Rich and Cr Andrew McEwen said council needed to consult the community about more digital promotion, while Cr Don Hill said if council offered an expanded digital tourism service, the future of the Foster centre should also be revisited.

“This (Cr Brown’s motion) is sending wrong signals to the Foster community. Land based visitor information centres will eventually be made redundant because most people are using their mobile devices,” he said.

Cr Lorraine Brunt said in the mean time, council could improve signage promoting the Korumburra centre, as requested by Korumburra businessman David Amor.

Before last Wednesday’s council meeting, he urged council to also enhance parking at Coal Creek Community Park and Museum, where the centre is located.

Mr Amor was disappointed the report to council mentioned the only risks to council of closing the centre were reputational harm, when he believed the greatest risk was a negative impact on tourism in Korumburra and South Gippsland.

“Closing the centre will be the end of Coal Creek,” he said, noting the park, where the centre is located, goes hand in hand with the centre.

Jumbunna’s Shirley Cowling urged to council to retain the Korumburra centre and reduce operating costs by involving more volunteers.

She urged council to consider obtaining funding for training school leavers or retirees as volunteers.

However Ms Atkinson said closing Korumburra’s centre and retaining Foster’s was a practical way of streamlining services while saving costs.

Keep status quo: Korumburra Business Association president Noelene Cosson and businessman David Amor urged South Gippsland Shire Council to retain the Korumburra visitor information centre.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=21771

Posted by on Jul 4 2017. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Recently Commented

  • tomcummings: The harm caused in our communities by poker machines is well known and well understood, yet the...
  • gigamax1: Ok , so now Wonthaggi SLSC is going to want the same funding. These clubs are within 1 kilometre of each...
  • 01jk: Just wondering what sort of chicken do little warriors eat? Straight from their own coop? Or those which...
  • juliec: I hope the community can change the plan to log state forest in the Strzeleckis. The Strzelecki forests are...
  • russell: As usual Vicroads ignore their own guidelines… This from their own “Road Guide Notes”...