OPINION: Concerns over visitor information centre

THE information one gets in unexpected places. A recent visit to the Hydrotherapy Pool informed me about the fate of the Tourism Centre in South Grafton.

It will be taken over by Oliver's Restaurant. Has the public been notified about this? I have been away recently so may have missed the announcement.

What concerns me is that such an important facility to the whole of the Clarence Valley will have no physical presence for locals, visitors and tourists.

A Visitor Information Centre is vital to every region. It is where people go for advice and also for help.

Not only did the centre display information sheets on the many varied activities and sights in our Valley, but displayed locally made items which were popular as gifts.

Clarence River Tourist Association has been outstanding and has won major prestigious awards.

So now, according to newspaper reports, information for staff will be located at the council chambers

Touch screens and the internet will be largely responsible for promoting this Valley.

What a retrograde decision this is. I read that there were only two applications for a new tourism advisory committee so on the strength of that, an advisory committee will not be established.

Surely it should not involve only people involved in the tourist industry.

As I am planning to move to Sydney, I cannot apply but there are others who would but they did not know about the request. If locals are not aware of information regarding tourism, how do we expect tourists to know about our Valley?

As a councillor on Grafton City Council, the CRTA was a major responsibility for me.

I do feel passionate about what will happen to our region and Grafton in parti- cular when it is bypassed with the highway upgrade.

I hope the decision taken by councillors wasn't based on Des Schroder's statement that the travelling times from southern Queensland mean people will be closer to beaches. Grafton was mentioned once. Our heritage, our Grafton Regional Gallery and the proximity to the wonderful National Parks are all major points of interest.

Heather Roland, South Grafton

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