Bid to at­tract 5000 peo­ple

The Gazette (Derwent Valley) - - FRONT PAGE - BEN WATER­WORTH

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.

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