Leaney steps down from tourism group
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.