The Tarwin River has been identified by the community as the most important “asset” of the region and a “gateway to Tarwin Lower, Venus Bay and Walkerville”. Community participation in the consultation for this project has been significant and the drive to improve the amenity, function and access to river frontage is of very high important to all.
Tarwin Lower is seen as the local service town, with significant population growth being experienced in the twin town of Venus Bay. Residents from both towns have participated in the project and see the need to ensure a strong connection between the townships, ease of access to shops and local businesses, recreational opportunities and facilities that cater for the growing tourism market.
Essentially the rural farming community relies on the tourism growth to support local business and services. There is concern about empty shops and sustainability of the area, so the community would like to enhance the attraction of the river as well of the livability of the area to help the area to thrive.
Community education about the river health and bank, native vegetation and weed control, ownership and Council service levels have been important parts of the process. There is clear policy and legislative requirement for river protection, infrastructure costs can be restrictive and there are a range of views about what should and can be done that in some instances are in conflict.
This research and consultation report aims to provide a clear and concise summary that the community can utlise as a framework to focus advocacy, volunteering and community education. Local land managers and agencies can refer to this work to better understand the issues impacting on the community, visitors and local business.