Mt Barker Visitor centre gains backing as the future of tourism in the Shire is decided

Headshot of Shannon Smith
Shannon SmithAlbany Advertiser
Shire of Plantagenet Administration Building.
Camera IconShire of Plantagenet Administration Building. Credit: Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

A tourism forum in the shire of Plantagenet has shown overwhelming support among the business community for the Mt Barker Visitor Centre to stay open.

The Mt Barker Community Resource Centre held the Business Sundowner Tourism Future Forum to discuss the future of tourism in the Shire, with about 60 people taking the chance to have their say.

Shire acting chief executive Paul Sheedy said the biggest message from the night was the community wanted the centre to stay open in some shape or form.

“There was a whole range of ideas of what it should look like and what it should do,” he said.

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“There is a plan for a reference group to be formed to provide some further direction and recommendations to council on going forward in regards to tourism. The message was very clear — in some form we need a visitor centre operating in Mt Barker.

“I believe there is already a move afoot to form a new committee, and that will be the test.

“From my point of view, I think that council can assist but it really needs to be driven by the community and tourism businesses and operators to be successful.”

The Shire has received a letter from the Porongurup Promotions Association about signing over the lease.

The PPA is asking for the Shire to help with funding until the lease expires on November 30.

The group appointed a steering committee to manage the visitor centre, which remains open for now, and is investigating the inception of a new incorporated body to run the centre.

The PPA told the council it would hold a special general meeting on August 31 to fill vacant positions and operate under the banner of Amazing South Coast Events until the lease expired.

At this month’s council meeting, Plantagenet councillors voted to pay the running costs and compensate Amazing South Coast Events, reliant on the meeting going ahead.

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