The Shire of Gannawarra in the northwest rural region of the State of Victoria is experiencing economic challenges brought about by changes in the agricultural sector and the use of water in areas prone to drought.
TERROIR (with Hirst Projects) worked with the Shire and the local business community to identify the potential of the town of Koondrook, on the Murray River to create new and exciting opportunities for tourism, linking with state and regional strategic directions. We were initially selected by the Gannawarra Shire Council in 2012 for a feasibility study for the replacement of the Koondrook Wharf, on the Murray River. The primary intention of this study was to assess and make recommendations on activities and functional design for an economically viable wharf, to benefit river uses and complement existing and proposed developments in the township and surrounding region.
Our approach involved extensive community consultation to identify the three key functions; for boats, as a heritage interpretation (of the former wharf from bygone industrial days) and a recreational use. This extensive consultation process lead to a successful ‘buy in’ by the local community and stakeholders. The development of infrastructure that can support new business on the river and connect, the adaptive re-use of buildings in the township and business modelling that will create a sustainable future was enthusiastically embraced by the community, local and adjacent Councils and broader stakeholder agencies such as Regional Development Victoria.
The concept design was completed in December 2012 and will be submitted for Regional Development Victoria funding in 2013. Our successful collaboration with Council led to invitations to undertake further studies in the town, including the local community hall.
The success of the feasibility concept study lead to Hirst Projects (with TERROIR) being commissioned to develop a Ports of the Murray Strategy for the Murray Region Tourism Board. The River Murray is an Australian icon that has a long and complex history from the earliest times to the present. The State Government and the Murray Region Tourism Board wished to build on this strength and bring together projects that were in train or planned by local authorities in both Victoria and NSW to optimize the value that these projects represented. The commission was to consult with all Local Governments along the River Murray, to identify projects and to create an implementation strategy that would reposition the Murray, provide platform for regional growth and serve as a basis for a collaborative process of prioritizing investment.
In early 2014, TERROIR (with Hirst Projects) were selected by Council to further develop the concept through to construction which has now commenced and will be completed in 2016.