Boating enthusiasts, tourists and locals will be able to enjoy improved recreational facilities at the Talbingo Dam boat ramp with $1.35 million locked in to create a designated swimming area, improved boating facilities, picnic areas, carparking and foreshore access.
Deputy Premier John Barilaro joined Snowy Hydro CEO Paul Broad and Wagga MP Dr Joe McGirr in announcing the funding at the dam yesterday.
Mr Barilaro said the NSW Government committed $850,000 and Snowy Hydro $500,000, which will deliver significant improvements south of the existing boat ramp, including a protected swimming area.
Safety concerns with the existing swimming area at the spillway on Talbingo Dam will see the spillway closed to the public and we have worked closely with Snowy Hydro to identify a suitable alternative that will ensure many tourists and locals continue to visit this great part of NSW,” he said.
Mr Barilaro said it is important to look at tourist infrastructure in the region after the damage done by the bushfires.
“We are working with Snowy Valleys Council to bring this on as soon as possible because we know how important it is,” he said.
“This is an example of a small investment in real terms, but something that is important, something that is urgent.”
Mr Broad said he had seen the damage the fires did to homes and the Snowy Valleys timber industry from the air.
“The pain and suffering cuts deep and doesn’t disappear in the blink of an eye,” he said.
He said he felt deeply for the people who had suffered as a result of the fires and he hoped the new area would be a place where families could recreate.
He took responsibility for the decision to close the spillway to swimmers, recalling a time when he had to rescue two young people from a spillway.
“I will not put at risk you or your families. I want to repay the community by helping here and I have a dream to do more; we want to create recreation areas further upstream. It’s the most beautiful, beautiful place we have in the snowy scheme.”
Dr McGirr said the money was a recognition of the importance of the dam as a tourist facility, and acknowledged what the Talbingo community had been through with the fires.
He credited Mr Barilaro for leading a recovery and revitalisation from the state’s point of view in terms of a focus on the regions.
Talbingo Progress and Ratepayers Association Chair Regina Roach said the Talbingo Dam was a wonderful facility.
“There has to be permanent water all the time; that’s our number one tourist attraction,” she said.
“You can put bike stuff anywhere, that’s easy, but we need to develop this. My personal concern is if we’re going to put 70 boats out there, let’s make sure we’ve got the facilities here to use it, because they’re the boats that keep Talbingo alive; they all use the shops and the servo; everything in Talbingo is linked to those boats, we just need the facilities, and this is a great starting point, and I thank Joe and John and Paul.”