GLENELG Shire Council says it is right behind a proposal for a kelpie interpretive centre at Casterton.
Shire mayor John Northcott said a centre would dovetail with council’s ambition to upgrade the town’s visitor information centre and create a multi-use facility.
Hugh Delahunty, Nationals member for the state seat of Lowan, which includes Casterton, raised the idea of an interpretive centre in Parliament last week, saying it would tie in with the town’s status as the birthplace of the kelpie and its annual Kelpie Muster.
The muster is Casterton’s main visitor drawcard, bringing thousands of dog enthusiasts to the town every Queen’s Birthday weekend.
Mr Delahunty suggested the government fund a feasibility study into establishing a centre through the Regional Growth Fund. “The Glenelg Shire Council and the Casterton community are keen to capitalise on the the increased popularity of the festival and to bring more people to the town each and every year,” Mr Delahunty said.
A feasibility study would identify benefits and drawbacks of such a centre and provide information about how it could be developed, he said. “It would also consider how the centre could be used as a community hub, with the provision of other community facilities.”
Cr Northcott said the council wanted to move the existing visitor centre, which was established as a bicentenary project in 1988.
“It’s not in an ideal place and it’s absolutely crowded out. We would like to build a new multi-use centre that would incorporate the visitor centre, the library and possibly some other facilities,” he said.
“If it was large enough, it could also host an interpretive centre. It would certainly complement the visitor centre and kelpie muster.”
Mr Delahunty said funding of feasibility studies for long-term projects was one of the functions of the Coalition government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.
He invited Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan to visit Casterton to see how a study into the future development would be a worthwhile exercise.