Wimmera Development Association (WDA) in conjunction with project partners, Wimmera Catchment Management Authority, GWMWater and the Wimmera Southern Mallee councils has completed the second of a four year study focusing on the socio-economic values of recreational and environmental water to the region.
The study collates and analyses data collected from across the region at locations where individuals and groups enjoy our lakes, rivers and weir-pools for recreational activity and events and this year shows a two year comparison.
The methodology in this years’ study has been enhanced to more accurately represent the allocation of the financial contribution from suppliers across the region and also includes additional information from Fisheries Victoria.
Key findings from the report have estimated that in 2018 in excess of 300,000 people visited the 25 waterways that were surveyed, which included over 208,000 visitor nights and a high rate of both active and passive local participation. Visitation to the surveyed sites was made up of 35.6%% Wimmera Southern Mallee residents, 36.7% other Victorian Country, 14.6% Melbourne and 8.6% from South Australia. The total regional economic contribution was estimated at $30.2 million.
This study has been a cooperative effort with local government and local community groups to catalogue and quantify the various social and economic benefits recreational and environmental water at 25 locations including rivers, pools and lakes across the region.
The report has also highlighted the important contribution to the region’s towns by providing enhanced amenity and a critical outlet for physical and mental relaxation, improving the overall health and wellbeing of residents and visitors.
An example of the substantial financial benefits of visitors coming from around Victoria was evident during the Horsham & Jeparit Fishing competition, with significant expenditure surveyed, increased visitation to small businesses and reports of increased sales by many businesses. These two events are two of many that attract visitors to the region on an annual basis.
Various campgrounds adjoining lakes also bring and attract campers and fishers to the region, from both within and outside the state.
One of the aims of the study is to establish a base line data set and consistent measurement methods that will allow for longer term studies to identify seasonal patterns in coming years.
Once collected and analysed the information will provide a better understanding of the economic impact of environmental and recreational water as well as the social benefits that these resources provide to the community.
This longitudinal study gives a better understanding of how to measure these values so that we can plan for future tourism, recreational and infrastructure facilities. Study outputs will also help to demonstrate the local and regional impacts to both State and Commonwealth Governments in order to attract support and funding for further development of infrastructure and services associated with recreational water and many of the stakeholder groups involved in the first round of data collection have already seen the advantage of using this information for grants and project planning.
Street Ryan Pty Ltd was been appointed as project consultant to develop a series of questionnaires that will be shared with local Committees of Management, sporting clubs and others likely to have an involvement in recreational water activity. The majority of the funding for the project has been made available by the Victorian Government via the Wimmera CMA.
Download the full report HERE
For more information contact:
Ralph Kenyon, Executive Director - Wimmera Development Association
(03) 5381 6500