Green Hill Lake surrounds thriving

ARARAT - Member for Ripon Joe Helper has been taken on a tour of Green Hill Lake by members of the Green Hill Lake Development Board.

Mr Helper has watched the development of the area closely since his election as the member for Ripon in 1999.

"I think its contribution to the Ararat economy is often underestimated and with the number of visitors, grey nomads in particular becoming more frequent, I think it will make a real and tangible difference to Ararat," he said.

"Investing modest resources whether that be from council or indeed state government should be seen as not just an investment in the lake but an investment in Ararat's economic prosperity."

Green Hill Lake Development Board member Gwenda Allgood said Mr Helper was responsive to a request to provide them with the information on appropriate funding streams.

Mrs Allgood said the committee is not backward in coming forward as it seeks the financial assistance to help make plans for the lakes' future a reality.

"We are very interested in the grants available so we can make even more improvements," she said.

At the top of the agenda is road surfacing to reduce exposure to dust, how to get more water into the lake and establishing a wetland for bird life.

"Some of the areas are filled with an incredible amount of wildlife, we want to be able to retain the water and provide access to areas for people to take photos of the birds," she said.

"Our local members drive past quite often, but it isn't until they actually take a tour that they get a better idea of what we need."

Mr Helper said many of the changes he has noticed have come about as a consequence of volunteers and that is a credit to them.

"It is the subtle things. It has become a more inviting place for travellers and that's a credit to the volunteers who have put in an enormous effort to develop the site."

Mr Helper said the installation of the playground for children of all abilities was a great example of the volunteers' foresight.

"The all abilities children's playground means that anybody's stay should be a positive experience," he said.

Works on the playground have almost been completed with focus expected to turn to its surrounds early next year.

"He was very impressed with the work of the group and I made sure to mention the importance of the Landmate crew who have been very involved in a lot of the work," Mrs Allgood said.

"We are very lucky to have them helping us out three or four times a year. We get them to do the bigger jobs and one of the projects they have been responsible for that gets a lot of positive feedback is the walking track along the bank."

Mrs Allgood said Mr Helper made no guarantees of funding but said that he would provide them with the information to apply for the funding.

"He didn't make any rash promises, but it's important we have doors open so we can start talking to the right people. He said he would get back to us on how we can do this," she said.

Mrs Allgood said council has assisted with the installation of directional signs so people travelling on the Western Highway know there is the availability of a rest stop.

"There are people who do an awful lot of travelling and one of the most important things I feel is to give people the opportunity to pull off the road and stretch their legs.

"Because when you think about it there aren't a lot of side stops along this stretch of the highway. We want it to be a great place for families and their children to pull into off the highway."

Member for Lowan Hugh Delahunty is expected to make a visit of his own to Green Hill Lake on a date to be confirmed.

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