Tourism, farming key to future

Economic diversity, more tourism, agriculture and new residents are what Upper Ovens Valley residents want in the future, according to an Upper Ovens Sustainable Communities Initiative report.

The report that was presented last week outlined several possible future models for the Upper Ovens Valley community including

  • Food bowl: Where agriculture dominates, towns shrink and there is a focus on rural activity
  • Residential commuting: Where a population of between 30,000 and 50,000 residents commute to Albury and Wangaratta for work, few industries remain in town, money generated elsewhere
  • Integrated economy: Growing residential area, retains local business, greater level of economic diversity including mix of agriculture, services, tourism and forestry

The integrated economy model was seen as the best option. The report identified the need to attract more residents to the area to make the integrated economy model viable. Other recommendations included continuing to build a strong sense of community, cultural diversity and retaining the unique identity of each town. The report also identified Alpine Shire as being economically advantaged compared to other Victorian regional areas.

The year long project was a combined effort between Council, CSIRO Sustainable ecosystems and Regional Development Victoria (RDV) and involved 60 community members who participated in a number of workshops. The workshops aimed to help communities identify economic, environmental and social sustainability issues before deciding realistic outcomes. RDV fully funded the $80,000 project.

Manager Strategic Services John Carter said the project and final report will guide future environmental and planning strategies.

“This report links well with Council’s 2030 Vision and the Hume strategy,” he said.

“The findings of this report will assist in the review of the 2030 strategy. It will also help focus community and council efforts on initiatives and actions underpinning the sustainability of the whole Alpine Shire. Because of Council’s commitment to the project we are now in a good position to secure future funding for sustainability initiatives.”

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