- The project will see the redevelopment of the current wetlands and fauna park on the Western Highway, Kaniva into a cultural and tourism precinct.
- The new centre will include wetland enhancement, visitor amenities including a nature-based, all-access play space and a flying fox, parrot flight area and a native forest fruits orchard.
- The community of Kaniva are behind the project and a range of organisations have lent their support in terms of financial, in-kind, usage and advocacy.
- West Wimmera Shire are the Committee of Management for the parcel of land that will be used for the Precinct so all funding and investment will be for construction purposes.
- The project cost is $1.215m which will comprise the following confirmed and potential contributions:
- West Wimmera Shire Council - $194,630 - confirmed
- Community of Kaniva - $20,200 – confirmed
- State Government $300,000 - to be applied for
- Sport and Recreation Victoria - $100,000 – confirmed
- Federal Government - $585,000 – confirmed
- In-kind and non-financial support (various partners) - $15,200 – confirmed
The process has included extensive community consultation and is supported by a range of local and regional strategy including the:
- 2014 Kaniva and Surrounds Social Infrastructure Study
- 2015 Economic Development Strategy
- 2013-2017 Council Plan
- 2014 Wimmera Southern Mallee Regional Growth Plan
- 2012 Wimmera Southern Mallee Regional Strategic Plan
- Victoria's Regional Tourism Strategy 2013 – 2016
- 2015 Wimmera Southern Mallee Regional Investment Plan
Current project partners (financial) include:
- West Wimmera Shire Council
- Commonwealth Government
- Regional Development Victoria
- Sport and Recreation Victoria
- Kaniva and District Lions Club
- Dept Econ Dev, Jobs, Transport & Resources
- Kaniva Landcare
- The Purple Starfish
- Vic Roads
- Kaniva and District Progress Association
The primary drivers of this important project include:
- To facilitate economic development by offering a strategic, cost-effective and long term infrastructure solution to key cultural and community assets in the region which are currently constrained in terms of capacity and accessibility
- To facilitate economic growth and development in the local region by investing in quality cultural and tourism infrastructure so that the region is transformed into a relevant and competitive participant in the tourism market
- To encourage new, repeat and extended visitation from within and beyond the region by providing a destination for motorists incorporating visitor information, recreational and cultural spaces, physical connection to the local environmental and public amenities.
- To address disadvantage through expansion of existing community and social enterprises, including through a flow on effect of increased visitation to the region, improving mental health and wellbeing in residents and visitors.
- To create an aged and disability friendly experience that addressed the disadvantaged faced by this demographic and their families, including volunteer opportunities to transition to active retirement.
- West Wimmera has one of the lowest population growth forecasts for the whole of Victoria with the population expected to decline by 700 residents or a decline of â16.3% 2011-31. Therefore investment in critical community infrastructure would contribute to population attraction and retention and may act as a catalyst for private and other investment.
- 2011 State Government analysis of SEIFA data shows a comparison for the following areas of disadvantage for residents of Kaniva.
Table 1 – Comparison of disadvantage % of population (SEIFA)
Aged over 65 years
Over 75 years of age living alone
People with a disability
Households with no internet
West Wimmera Shire Council and the communities of Kaniva and Districts would welcome the opportunity to discuss this important project with interested parties.