Funding fixes chink in Kyogle’s missing link
THE "missing link" needed to boost tourism, grow agribusiness and connect communities in Kyogle has been given the green light following last week's Federal funding announcement.
The National Stronger Regions Grant, announced by Page MP Kevin Hogan last Monday, will allow Kyogle Council to seal the 7.5km section of gravel road to Toonumbar Dam.
Kyogle Council mayor Danielle Mulholland said the road in its current state was a major deterrent to people visiting Toonumbar Dam and had significantly impeded the growth of agricultural industries in the area.
"Toonumbar Dam and the Toonumbar Waters Retreat have incredible tourism potential that until now could not be fully realised because of the road," she said.
"Toonumbar is one of the few freshwater dams in the region that allows the use of recreational power boats and it's already well known for its fishing."
The $997,639 grant will see 0.9km of gravel Afterlee Rd and 6.6km of Dam Access Rd sealed.
The existing unsealed road has been seen as a major barrier to the local community, restricting the number of visitors to a significant tourist site in the Kyogle LGA, resulting in the facility operating at below occupation rates that would be otherwise possible.
Ms Mulholland said the Toonumbar Water Retreat was a huge tourist draw card, offering accommodation and conference facilities, a nine-hole golf course, cricket oval, tennis court and fishing and boating facilities.
"But the road puts people off going to the dam and surrounding National Parks," she said.
"The operators of the retreat and our own tourist visitor information centre have been told repeatedly by people that they won't go to the dam again because of the road."
The "missing link" also joins an alternate route connecting Kyogle to Bonalbo, which is almost 40km shorter than the journey via Casino.
Kyogle Council will contribute $1,015,160 to the project, and an in-kind contribution worth $62,480 from the operators of Toonumbar Waters Retreat will also provide for improvements to amenities at the Bells Bay camping area at the dam.