ARARAT - The Green Hill Lake Development Board has just completed one of its most successful periods to date, with development at the lake going ahead in leaps and bounds over the past year.
President Gwenda Allgood said at the annual meeting that it gave her a great deal of pleasure to present the annual report of the board's achievements over the past 12 months.
Two projects that received attention by the board this year included the installation of a playground and upgrading the walking track along the bank.
"The playground has proved very popular, not only with the campers but also locals and those taking a rest off the highway," Mrs Allgood said.
"Many people are making this a highway stop now, which we encourage as a 'rest and revive area'. The Green Hill Lake Development Board was very conscious of making a decision on a piece of playground equipment that seemed unique and totally different to other playgrounds in the Ararat area."
Mrs Allgood said the Rotary Club of Ararat has generously offered to assist with providing man power to connect the water and equipment to allow a lawn area to be developed around the playground.
The board will complement this with trees, tables and chairs and a barbecue.
"The walking track along the banks of the lake has been upgraded at a minimum cost with the assistance of Wilbur Wilde and the Ararat Land Mate Crew, Council and Green Hill Lake volunteers," Mrs Allgood said.
"The Land Mate crews help with fire prevention works, also tree plantings, trimming trees, lawn plantings and other general maintenance issues right throughout the year. I don't think the community realise the fantastic work or how much the Land Mate crew do contribute throughout the area.
"Ararat Landcare has also assisted again this year with the removal of noxious weeds and stink wart."
The board was successful in receiving a number of grants and donations this year.
Grants received this year amounted to $42,000 and included: Ararat Community Enterprise $8,000; Ararat Rotary Club $5,000, plus $5000 in-kind, Australia Post Neighbourhood Grant Fund $7,500, Ararat Rural City Council $5,000, Ararat College students $400.
"The development board applied for a grant from the Foundation for Rural and Regional Development titled 'Help Ararat Beat the Fat'. This application was for exercise equipment to keep campers, walkers and people of all abilities motivated. This was a grant we are very proud of receiving and which is very hard to come by but very important to stretch our money further. We received $3,000 which we have agreed as a committee to match and we will install this equipment ourselves to save money," Mrs Allgood said.
"We also received a volunteers' grant for fuel and the Ararat Aquatic Club granted us $4,000 to extend the boat ramp. The boat ramp extension was raised at a meeting and it was decided to get this done while the water level was low. "
The board also has many plans for the future including sealing the road around the lake to prevent dust and planning a walking area around the lake, both of which will need funding support.
"This area is a fantastic area for bird life and recently local bird watchers have recognized this with photos and stories in the local papers," Mrs Allgood said.
"In many areas Parks Victoria assists groups to build these areas, especially in wetlands and conservation areas. These walkways combine to encourage walking and viewing areas for families and groups to look and enjoy the natural surroundings," she said.
The number of travellers stopping off the highway is becoming more noticeable, with individuals, families holidaying, and even truckies taking a rest and meal breaks at the lake.
Mrs Allgood thanked members of the board for their work and commitment to Green Hill Lake and its future.
"I think Ararat is becoming more aware of the importance of tourism in this area. Each Green Hill Lake Development Board member really contributes in some way," Mrs Allgood said.
"I am very proud of this group for their continued dedication and commitment to not only this committee but to the long term future of Ararat, the businesses, tourist attractions and Ararat's general well being."