Centre retained

May 16, 2018

Concerns the Tocumwal Visitor Centre would close have been allayed, with a new volunteer management model for the centre revealed on Friday.

The meeting was called after Global Accreditation Services decided not to renew its lease of the visitor centre building with Berrigan Shire Council.

Moving into the centre three years ago, Global Accreditation’s lease agreement included that the company also manage the centre.

Company principal Greg Harmes said his decision to move out of the centre was directly related to what he believes is a lack of support from other agencies for the visitor centre and its services, and particularly the Tocumwal Business Chamber.

He said soon after taking over management of the centre in 2015, he received a letter from the chamber saying it would no longer support the centre.

Mr Harmes said pending upgrades at the Tocumwal Foreshore that will include a new tourism centre also played a role in the decision.

‘‘I was putting a huge amount of money out of my own pocket into the centre. There wasn’t any relationship with chamber despite trying to receive support,’’ Mr Harmes said.

‘‘The last thing we want to see is the centre close, so we’ll still have a relationship with the volunteers and support the centre where we can.

‘‘The volunteers do a fantastic job. They’re the lifeblood of any small community.’’

Tocumwal Chamber of Commerce president Sergio Redegalli said chamber’s decision to stay at ‘‘arm’s length’’ from the visitor centre was not about withdrawing support, but a rationalisation of the role of the chamber.

He said chamber appreciates the value of having a visitor centre in the town.

‘‘It wasn’t a lack of goodwill but more of a realisation it’s not our job to run the tourist information centre,’’ Mr Redegalli said.

‘‘Most tourist information centres are not run by chambers, because we’re not-for-profit.

‘‘Chamber has been moving ahead with our own projects because it has been taken off our shoulders.’’

Mr Redegalli said the focus now was what will happen with the building when the Tocumwal Foreshore development starts.

‘‘Now the foreshore is going to redeveloped, the issue of the tourism centre will be for chamber and everyone else to decide where it is going to go during the time of the build.

‘‘So we need to start looking for another premises, because Anzac Parade and Splash Park will be finished this year.’’

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