Tourism, aged care key focus

Tari JeffersManjimup-Bridgetown Times

It is going to be an “exciting year” in the Shire of Manjimup as the council pushes for major boosts in tourism, infrastructure and employment, according to the shire president.

Cr Wade DeCampo said 2017 would be the first full year of the Manjimup Town Centre Revitalisation project, which received a $22.3 million State Budget windfall last year and includes improvement and additions to access and aesthetics in the CBD.

The next focus of the project will be the construction of the Manjin Rec Plaza.

“You’ll see a recreation plaza that is second to none in the South West, if not the State,” Cr DeCampo said.

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A major focus for the council this year will be the creation of a local tourism organisation to address and spearhead tourism in the region.

Cr DeCampo said the “LTO” would indirectly help boost employment in the region after the closure of the Deanmill, Pemberton and Manjimup sawmill facilities.

The organisation will be run jointly with the shires of Bridgetown-Greenbushes and Nannup, through the Warren-Blackwood Strategic Alliance.

“A local tourism organisation is the next step in boosting our tourism numbers; it’s really important for the economies of Pemberton, Northcliffe, Walpole, Manjimup and surrounding towns,” he said.

“An iconic tourism icon is the council’s wish list item for this year and we believe we need a substantial hook to bring people to the area.

“Like how the Capes have the caves or the lighthouse, Bunbury has the Dolphin Discovery Centre and Denmark and Albany have the Gap and the Tree Top Walk and Valley of the Giants.”

The construction of the $4 million Wellness and Respite Centre will begin construction in the second quarter of 2017.

“That’s a really exciting project for Manjimup — it means our ageing in place strategy can really be fulfilled in some ways,” Cr DeCampo said.

He also said it was exciting to see movement in the over- 55 lifestyle village at the old Manjimup Primary School site.

“This is one of the most disappointing projects since I’ve been president; it’s been over a decade in the making,” he said.

“If the Department of Housing doesn’t make a move to start the project this year, the council will look to take that project over.”

This year will also include reviews of the Windy Harbour Management Plan and the Local Planning Strategy.

“Keep an eye out, if you have any planning or zoning issue you want resolved, now is the best time to do that through the review of the strategy,” Cr DeCampo said.

Looking back on 2016, Cr DeCampo said a lot had been accomplished and thanked the council and its staff for all their work.

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