Planning forum pays off for Warrnambool

TENS of thousands of dollars was injected into the south-west economy in less than two days from the State Planning Conference.

Former prime minister Malcolm Fraser speaks at last week’s conference.140718RG19

Former prime minister Malcolm Fraser speaks at last week’s conference.140718RG19

Staged at both the Lighthouse Theatre and the Lady Bay Resort, more than 240 people participated in the event, which included a variety of seminars and information sessions.

Warrnambool City Council growth director Bill Millard said it was the first time in a number of years that the conference had been staged in the south-west.

He said a number of cafés, restaurants and accommodation providers had noticed a strong economic spin-off from the event.

“We had a range of planners, lawyers and other professionals that came here for the event but the best part was that many stayed after the conference had finished,” Mr Millard said.

“While it started on the Thursday, some people came the day before. And after it finished on Friday night, a good number stayed on Saturday and turned it into part of their weekend.”

Former prime minister Malcolm Fraser and State Planning Minister Matthew Guy were the keynote speakers at the event which also included a number of international visitors such as Toronto’s chief planner Jennifer Keesmaat.

Mr Millard said he led a well-received street tour outlining Warrnambool’s city centre renewal initiative with the city council’s business support manager Tanya Egan.

“We thought we’d get only 20 people heading along and in the end we had over 60 people take part,” he said.

“There was a lot of positive feedback (from conference attendees) about Warrnambool as a holiday destination and a number of people said they’d come back here again.”

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