THE NAMBUCCA Heads Visitor Information Centre (VIC) has been under a cloud of speculation for a number of years – and it came again to a head at Thursday’s council meeting.
The motion put forward centred around negotiating a lease or licence with Lifetime Connect to operate from the centre, with the continuation of the lease being subject to visitor information being available from the site at its current standard.
It was a topic that drew a lot of interest, with a full gallery present to witness how council would proceed.
Chair of the Nambucca Valley Tourism Association (NVTA), Dave Banks, appealed to council to work with the association to maintain the visitor centre in its current form, keeping in mind highway bypass.
“Should the lease be given to Lifetime connect, NVTA Inc, still has vested interest to be involved in VIC and future strategic plan development,” he said. “We’re not anti-sharing with another organisation, just on the sideline until we know the full details of what the lease would mean.”
Stuart Holmes spoke on behalf of Lifetime Connect, stating that the organisation had no intention of ‘taking over’ the centre, as many assumed, but were wanting to work alongside with the existing volunteers.
“We have a commitment to ensure the Nambucca Heads facility maintain the profile supporting tourism,” he said. “We’re not about changing the services provided from facility.
“(We’re) interested in working with current volunteers to continue the services provided, and collaborate with organisations to provide an outlet for locally produced items. We see this venture as an enhancement for visitors and locals seeking tourism information – we’re here to support the community and continue the service upheld at the VIC.
“We see it as a win-win for the community quite frankly.”
Mr Holmes also noted Lifetime Connect would apply for accreditation under the VIC network.
The whole issue has divided council. After several discussions and questions to involved parties, councillors went into closed meeting to further discuss the issue.
The motion was moved and seconded by councillors Finlayson and Ainsworth. However, it was not supported by all and was passed on a majority vote.
Cr Reed requested her vote be recorded against the resolution on the grounds that there was no forward strategic plan.
Mayor Rhonda Hoban said council was trying to achieve something that would work for everybody.
“Nobody is going to get everything they want, best we're going to get is some sort of compromise, which we hope will be a win-win for everyone,” she said.