From ru­ins to riches

Yarrawonga Chronicle - - Front Page - BY EMMA PRIOR

Mul­wala Hol­i­day Park DC on the Lake, one of the ar­eas that copped the brunt of the 2013 tor­nado has turned the horror of the eye of the storm around and is ven­tur­ing into all abil­i­ties ac­com­mo­da­tion and leisure.

Mem­ber for Al­bury, Greg Aplin re­cently an­nounced that DC on the Lake will re­ceive a grant of $104,561 to sup­port a $236,491 project to build cabin ac­com­mo­da­tion and de­velop an all-ac­cess play­ground at its park site on the banks of Lake Mul­wala.

Mr Aplin said the grant sup­port was from the 2017/18 round of the Tourism De­mandDriver In­fra­struc­ture pro­gram, an ini­tia­tive ad­min­is­tered by the State Government to sup­port tourism projects that drive de­mand and increase lo­cal tourism ex­pen­di­ture.

“I’m de­lighted to an­nounce fund­ing to sup­port the next stage of the DC on the Lake project which will en­able the con­struc­tion of a fully ac­ces­si­ble cabin and stage one of an al­lac­cess play­ground in­clud­ing path­ways, land­scap­ing, shaded ar­eas and bar­beque fa­cil­i­ties,” Mr Aplin said.

“DC on the Lake pro­vides a unique tourism ex­pe­ri­ence in the re­gion and this project will im­prove the qual­ity of that ex­pe­ri­ence and at­tract more vis­i­tors.”

Owner of DC on the Lake Craig O’Cal­laghan said the hol­i­day park was want­ing to ac­com­mo­date more peo­ple, es­pe­cially those who are of­ten un­able to have lit­tle getaways due to the lack of ac­com­mo­da­tion and ac­ces­si­bil­ity for peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties.

“We heard there was an open­ing for it and we know of some peo­ple that have had mo­tor­bike ac­ci­dents and the likes but don’t get to go on lit­tle hol­i­days much be­cause there isn’t ap­pro­pri­ate ac­com­mo­da­tion avail­able so we wanted to cre­ate some­thing a bit unique,” Craig said.

“We are also try­ing to get ahead of the game a bit and by help­ing ac­com­mo­date peo­ple that aren’t usu­ally catered for and to see them have a good time will be amaz­ing.

“It will be great for the town too I think. Mem­ber for Far­rer Sus­san Ley said the project was an­other step in a lengthy road back for the park since a dev­as­tat­ing storm de­stroyed much of the fa­cil­ity in 2013.

“I want to con­grat­u­late Craig, Deb and the team on the work they are do­ing at DC - the all-abil­ity fea­tures be­ing in­stalled just shows the lengths they are go­ing to and en­sur­ing it.”

Af­ter the hor­rors that faced the hol­i­day park in 2013 and the out­look that they may never re­cover, ven­tur­ing into a unique ac­com­mo­da­tion fa­cil­ity is a ma­jor step for­ward and some­thing even Craig him­self could not see hap­pen­ing five years ago.

“I hate see­ing pho­tos or videos of what the park and town looked like af­ter that, it was hor­ren­dous,” Craig said.

“It took us a long time to prop­erly get back on our feet and we were nearly look­ing at shut­ting down at one stage be­cause the dam­age was so ex­ten­sive but to be up to where we are now and look­ing at new projects in the fu­ture is just fan­tas­tic.

“We’re stoked.”

At the mo­ment DC on the Lake is only in­stalling one cabin but if the in­cen­tive proves suc­cess­ful they would def­i­nitely look into build­ing ad­di­tional cab­ins.

“Once it is all com­pleted we’re also hop­ing to give away a few free hol­i­days for any­one who de­serves one of these unique ex­pe­ri­ences, so we’re go­ing to set up a web­page where peo­ple can send us some words on some­one they deem wor­thy and we’ll pick a few win­ners,” Craig said.

The hol­i­day park also in­stalled an all abil­i­ties pool last year, one fit with a flat sur­face ramp for peo­ple to ac­cess the water with­out hav­ing to walk down steps and have had great suc­cess with the in­clu­sion.

Although pay­ing for the pool out of their own money Craig said it has been suc­cess­ful with peo­ple buy­ing the cab­ins sur­round­ing the pool and nu­mer­ous peo­ple us­ing it daily.

The all abil­i­ties cabin that is go­ing to be in­stalled has re­cently been or­dered and although a start date to in­stall it has not yet been clar­i­fied Craig said he was hop­ing to see the project com­pleted by June 30.

“We haven’t fully de­cided where to si­t­u­ate our all abil­i­ties play­ground yet ei­ther be­cause we want it to be in the per­fect po­si­tion for tourists and at this stage we are un­de­cided on an ex­act lo­ca­tion but we’re get­ting the cabin all or­gan­ised so we can then move onto the next step,” Craig said.

“We’re also look­ing at putting in a wheel­chair ac­ces­si­ble jetty so we can trans­port peo­ple in wheel­chairs or us­ing walk­ers to boats and take them on a trip around the lake.

“The grant is ab­so­lutely a good start, we have to match them dol­lar for dol­lar but we put the all ac­cess pool in our­selves and it has paid off so we’re look­ing for­ward to see­ing what this project can do.”

The all-ac­cess pool DC on the Lake in­stalled last year for peo­ple of all abil­i­ties to swim in.

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