Deniliquin Pastoral Times

Selection made

Deni Lands Council is preferred Four Post operator

- By ZOE MCMAUGH

A lease agreement which could see the Deniliquin Local Aboriginal Lands Council take over operation of the Four Post Camp near Deniliquin has been proposed.

Murray River Council announced Deniliquin LALC as its preferred operator at its council meeting last week.

Its intention is to offer a lease of up to 21 years.

In accordance with Section 47 of the Local Government Act, council must give public notice and seek community feedback before the lease can be awarded.

If there are submission­s or objections to the proposal, the matter may be referred to the NSW Government for a decision.

Mayor Chris Bilkey said council received interest from one other group to run the camp, but could not provide any details of the unsuccessf­ul applicant for confidenti­ality reasons.

Cr Bilkey said the lands council was chosen because of the ‘‘suite of options’’ it offered to introduce to the camp.

‘‘We were pleased to see the submission would make the camp available to nonindigen­ous community members, as well as the indigenous community,’’ he said.

‘‘They see that as important not only for inclusion reasons, but also in maintainin­g viability.

‘‘The lands council also committed to significan­t improvemen­ts, which the camp does need.’’

While the proposed lease is still subject to public feedback, Deniliquin LALC CEO Rose Dunn declined to make any comment on the recent progress.

She has previously told the PASTORAL TIMES that if given the opportunit­y, Deniliquin LALC’s intention is to run camps, hire out facilities for meetings and events and run its regular group meetings on the site.

It would employ someone to run the camp on its behalf, and ‘‘return the camp to a community run facility that all members of the community can use and be proud of’’’.

Deniliquin LALC has used the Four Post Camp for various events in the past, including an indigenous women’s health event, and expressed an interest in expanding those activities by taking over the site at least two years ago.

It first approached Crown Lands and Murray River Council about the opportunit­y to manage the camp in 2019, when it was still being managed by Summit Employment & Training. Grants research started about the same time.

Summit’s management agreement to operate the camp was revoked in May this year, after which Murray River Council was appointed Crown Reserve manager of the land on which it sits.

It followed a renewed push by Murray River Council and the Deniliquin and district community to have the camp revert to community control, in November last year.

Community concerns regarding the facility raised with the PASTORAL TIMES escalated at the same time, particular­ly after it was reported the site was being considered as a Rotary district meeting place.

The conditions of the facility were noted, but of greater concern was the untapped potential of the bushland accommodat­ion site.

Visitation to Four Post since Summit Employment & Training was put in charge in 2014 had been minimal in comparison to when it was a community-managed facility.

Anecdotal evidence also suggests visitation was higher when the Greater Murray YMCA managed the facility in the intervenin­g years.

‘‘It has been a bit of a wasted asset, and we are delighted that two groups were keen to see the area revived,’’ Cr Bilkey said.

‘‘There is great potential for a whole range of activities at the site, whether it be recreation, education, weddings or receptions.

‘‘If it is developed in the way we hope it will be, it will be of great benefit.’’

As Crown Reserve manager, Murray River Council will provide support to the camp once operating again but council community and economic developmen­t director John Harvie said ratepayer funds would not be used at the camp.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia