Federation Council is to proceed with the preparation of a joint application with Albury City Council and Berrigan Shire Council in seeking $3,826,652 from the NSW Government towards a $7,204,067 project and will contribute in $3,826,652 partner council funding.
"This program is an exciting opportunity to support the implementation of two long standing foreshore development master plans in Corowa and Mulwala, in addition to constructing a cycleway connecting the destinations," Federation Council's Director Corporate and Community Services Kristy Kay stated in her report tabled at council's monthly meeting on October 17.
"The project aligns with relevant state and local strategic policy and objectives for tourism development and is expected to have a significant economic impact on the region."
Federation Council has been invited to submit a full application for a major tourism infrastructure project as part of the NSW Government's Rebuilding NSW Program - Environment and Tourism Fund.
"The application is to be presented as a regional project in partnership with Albury City Council and Berrigan Shire Council," Ms Kay said.
"The Corowa riverfront redevelopment would revitalise Corowa's riverfront and improve local and visitor access to the river, creating a destination to encourage outdoor activities and interaction with the environment such as general sightseeing, bushwalking, fishing, bird watching, picnics/ barbecues and recreational boating."
Key components of the redevelopment project include: Bangerang Park including accessible amenities block and landscaping, cafe in Rowers Park, Corowa Boardwalk and Riverside Walking Track, River Revegetation, Interpretative Signage and Lions Park Boating facilities.
"The suite of projects will contribute to a revitalised riverfront, encouraging a greater connection to the river through improved access, amenity and infrastructure," Ms Kay said.
"The proposed Corowa Mulwala Trail would encourage an increase in cycling participation for locals and visitors, as well as promote the dispersal of visitors between the two destinations and cross-destination expenditure."
The Corowa Mulwala Trail forms part of the Murray River Adventure Trail and includes construction of a 42.9km trail connecting the two towns.
"The proposed Corowa Mulwala Trail would encourage an increase in cycling participation for locals and visitors, as well as promote the dispersal of visitors between the two destinations and cross-destination expenditure," Ms Kay said.
General Manager's say
Regarding the partner funding of $3,364,765 and the separate pursuance of additional grant funding, Federation Council's General Manager Chris Gillard advised councillors that council's "overall financial situation is not weak but not strong".
He said there are demands right across the Federation Council area council can't meet but emphasised his feelings on the joint application. "Some people say we can't afford this project. I say we can't afford not to have it.
"It's a really good opportunity to link the two towns. Accommodation rates in Corowa are not high enough. It could be really beneficial and bring significant tourist numbers. We have to afford it. This will bring more growth. We have to build our product."
The Corowa Mulwala Trail was described as "one of the best in Australia" by Cr Fred Longmire who added the description of Lake Mulwala as "an inland Gold Coast". Cr Gail Law said she "could only see great benefit coming from it".
'If you build it people will come' according to Cr Paul Miegel. "Council needs to be a little bit brave when opportunities present themselves with consequent recognition and assessment in further budgets and rates," he said.
"If we don't do something significant and help our tourist component, we miss that opportunity not only for our two communities but the region."
Councillors and the General Manager were delivering the same message, with Mr Gillard hoping that good fortune comes for the regional application, but warned: "It's possible that $200,000 to $300,000 might have to come out of next year's budget (too).
"With grant applications it's a very detailed process. We need to give detailed costings."
Council Mayor Pat Bourke said he was very supportive of the regional application but said he was duty bound to remind council of major projects for the northern end of Federation Council area.