Lake Inverell will be receiving $2.2 million worth of upgrades over the next 12 months as part of two major projects co-funded by the state government and Inverell Shire Council.
Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall was pleased to hand over a cheque for $1,881, 606 to deputy mayor Anthony Michael on Wednesday morning.
The Regional Growth Fund grant will join $400,000 from the council to build an off-road cycle and walkway around Lake Inverell Reserve and a pontoon, boardwalk and viewing platform for kayak and canoe enthusiasts.
“This is a really exciting day for the Inverell community,” Mr Marshall said.
“This $1.8 million will dramatically enhance what is one of the most picturesque and tranquil passive recreation areas in Inverell. It’ll turn it not only into a place that will attract more locals to get out and get active on the water or walking around the lake, but it will also, I think, attract many more tourists and visitors to this area.”
He believed the criterium track would provide a safe outlet for the local cycling club and double as a cross country track for local school students.
“With many of our young athletes training for state and national championships, this whole precinct will see a major upgrade in the facilities, the attractiveness of the area and get more people out and about, getting active.”
“It’s the stuff that dreams are made of,” Cr Michael said.
“This is brilliant. I never ever thought this would come to fruition, this is great.”
He said the cycle/walk track will cater to many sports and activities, such as remote control car racing, and would allow local groups to hold competitive events without closing roads or interrupting businesses.
The track will include tables and chairs. Work on the project is imminent, with the council already marking the route.
The pontoon will provide a safer access point for kayak and canoe users, and the boardwalk will have wheelchair access.
“It’s an elevated wheelchair accessible boardwalk, viewing platform, a vehicle access ramp, concrete paths and embellishments such as bubblers, seating and signage,” Cr Michael said.
Around 3000 people currently use Lake Inverell for canoeing and kayaking, and the council reports that over 65 per cent of the town use the lake.
“It’s a stunning area, very peaceful, but unlike a lot of facilities in other parts of the state, it’s right on the front doorstep of the Inverell community. You don’t have to travel very far. It’s very accessible for everyone in the community,” Mr Marshall said.
“It is very popular already, but council feels, and I feel; with these enhancements we’re going to have a facility that not only caters for increasing interest for locals, but actually will be a big drawcard for people outside of this region to stop and stay a few days in Inverell.”
Cr Michael could not give an exact timeline for the two projects, but said he expected they would take approximately 12 months to complete.