Bid to attract 5000 people
THE Derwent Valley Council aims to boost the area’s population by 5000 in the next 10 years.
The bold vision of 500 people a year moving to the region would increase the local population of just under 10,000 by another 50 per cent in a decade. It follows a State Government plan to raise Tasmania’s population of 515,000 to 650,000 by 2050.
Derwent Valley Mayor Martyn Evans said a number of plans were in place to help reach the target by attracting new investment, creating more jobs and developing a larger economy.
“Council needs to look at our infrastructure,” he told the Gazette. “We need marketing, we need some competition. We need a Best & Less, a Big W or Kmart or Target as well to service the needs of the area and also create employment opportunities.
“The schools going to Year 11 and 12 will do great things for people who live in the area, so we think our target is attainable and in line with the population strategy of Tasmania.”
Sectors that have been targeted to help with population growth include tourism, agriculture and small business, which Cr Evans said were all vital to drawing extra people to live in the region.
“Interestingly enough if you look back in history over the last 10 years there was about a 1800-2000 jump in population,” he said.
“They’ve identified that, so if we can keep in line with that, which I think we can with the attributes of the Valley, it will definitely reach that target if we do what we’ve proposed to do with our Steps plan.”
The 2013 Steps to the Future Strategy outlined the council’s vision.
Cr Evans said the recently set up Economic Development and Growth Special Committee would discuss plans related to the population increase.
Last week Cr Evans raised the idea of offering the Derwent Valley as a home for some of the 500 Syrian refugees being taken by Tasmania. He would raise the matter at tomorrow’s council meeting.
If the Valley were to increase its population to 15,000 it would have a similar number of residents as neighbouring Brighton municipality, which now has a population of 15,460.
An increase of 5000 also would be more than double the present population of the Central Highlands, which is just over 2260.