Leaney steps down from tourism group

Warragul & Drouin Gazette - - NEWS -

Elec­tion to Baw Baw Shire Coun­cil last year has led to Michael Leaney step­ping down as pres­i­dent of Wal­halla and Moun­tain Rivers Tourism af­ter 19 years.

Cr Leaney was suc­ceeded in the po­si­tion at last week’s an­nual meet­ing by Brad Har­ris.

He said he had re­lin­quished the pres­i­dency of the tourism body to con­cen­trate on his role as a coun­cil­lor and to bet­ter ad­vo­cate for the Gipp­s­land tourism in­dus­try.

Cr Leaney’s mem­ber­ship sta­tus as the ap­pointed rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Wal­halla Star Ho­tel was amended to a non-vot­ing ca­pac­ity al­though he will con­tinue as pro­pri­etor of the ho­tel and GreyHorse Café and pres­i­dent of the Wal­halla Gold­fields Rail­way.

Al­though W&MRT is a small group it is fo­cussed, de­ter­mined and ded­i­cated, he said.

Look­ing back on his pe­riod as pres­i­dent Cr Leaney said the num­ber of vis­its to the his­toric town had swelled from 50,000 per year 20 years ago to 130,000 today.

“The Wal­halla and Moun­tain Rivers area has gone from a back­wa­ter to a driver of do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional tourism for Gipp­s­land and, with limited re­sources, has hit above its weight”.

It has de­liv­ered tourism out­comes that many larger and bet­ter re­sourced ar­eas are en­vi­ous of and has emerged stronger de­spite the chal­lenges of a num­ber of bush­fires and crises, Cr Leaney said.

Join­ing new pres­i­dent Mr Har­ris on the com­mit­tee are Ron Camier (vice-pres­i­dent), Lynda Ge­orge (trea­surer), Ge­off An­der­son (sec­re­tary), Rus­sell Wright and Mal Rudge.

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