Letter to the Editor: Visitor Information Centre provides service apps alone can not offer

DEAR News Of The Area,

THE Nambucca Valley has a long tradition of welcoming visitors in various locations for more than 45 years, having operated out of a caravan, the Entertainment Centre and other venues.

It has always been manned by volunteers with local knowledge.

A local, Mrs Edna Stride, recognised the need for a permanent home for a Visitor Information Centre.

Now in her 90s, Edna still takes a keen interest in the VIC.

She lobbied Council and councillors for their support.

Grant monies were secured, a Tourism Manager appointed and the centre was built in 2002, opening on 12 April, 2003.

The Tourism Manager was responsible for running the centre and marketing the area, liaising with businesses, the local tourism association and coordinating the volunteers.

The site had previously been occupied by King Billy Robinson and his family, who lived there for many years.

Known affectionately as NGAJII (Grandfather) he was a traditional elder of the Gumbaynggirr people.

He made his living by weaving baskets from the canes of the lawyer vine, which he would gather in the bush and carry home on his back.

He sold them to tourists and locals.

Since Covid our volunteer numbers have dwindled, but we have an enthusiastic band of twelve volunteers and are open five days a week.

Since the beginning of January to the end of March we have helped 1,279 visitors and locals with information and were open for 76 days, fulfilling our role as an accredited Visitor Information Centre.

Visitors often make it their first port of call when they arrive at a destination looking for someone to help them with what to see and do.

They often endorse the fact that speaking to a person with local knowledge is the way to go.

Volunteers who have a passion for the Valley have a proven record of providing a unique, personal impression to the many visitors and locals who seek us out to get ideas that will make their journey or holiday more enjoyable, something we have found that apps alone cannot provide.

They love our uncrowded beaches and the hinterland villages.

Our aim is to promote local businesses and attractions.

We have many handouts to entice people to stay and explore the area.

So to that end if you like meeting people we would welcome new volunteers including folk on Job Search, people who have life experience and would enjoy promoting the valley and its attractions.

Our goal is to again be open seven days a week.

As a local volunteer myself since 2003 I must say I enjoy meeting and greeting and helping the many people who have passed through our doors these last 20 years or so.

Dorothy HARRIS,
Nambucca Valley.

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