SOUTH Gippsland Shire Council has applied to the State Government’s Tourism Demand Driver Infrastructure Fund for a contribution to the $700,000 Agnes Falls Scenic Reserve Redevelopment.
The council will allocate $350,000 towards the project to improve facilities at the falls reserve if the application is successful.
As Victoria’s highest single-span waterfall at 59 metres, Agnes Falls is a strategic asset for attracting tourists in South Gippsland.
The project received the unanimous support of all councillors when they voted on it recently.
Cr Jeremey Rich praised the Friends of Agnes Falls demonstrating great commitment to the reserve and tourism in general.
Cr McEwen said it would raise the profile of the falls but he would like to see it connected to the rail trail network.
“We also need to be developing a priority listing for tourism projects,” he said.
“It’s a big investment but it’s a great project,” said Cr Alyson Skinner.
Agnes Falls is the second-most visited attraction in South Gippsland during the winter months.
Though popular with tourists, infrastructure at Agnes Falls presently suffers from poor signage, lack of an appropriate viewing deck, poor car parking and limited recreational opportunities at the falls; thereby restricting the potential for increased visitation.
The Agnes Falls Scenic Reserve Redevelopment project aims to improve the infrastructure at the falls including:
• Car park upgrade works
• New entry path and signs
• Path realigned through the picnic area with new picnic facilities and revegetation
• Upgrade walking path to allow all abilities access to the water edge with repainted handrails and new benches installed
• Construct new viewing platform/cantilevered lookout and upgrade east viewing area.
The project is part of the Cornet Inlet Tourism Development Project suite that was identified to bring an economic benefit to the region and act as a catalyst for new investment in accommodation, food and retail type businesses.
Parks Victoria manages the falls and is fully supportive of the development and committed to the ongoing maintenance of the reserve, including any upgrades to infrastructure.
If approved, the council will explore other funding opportunities in partnership with the Friends of Agnes Falls to reduce the council’s overall potential contribution if possible.