While making a Public Forum presentation to Council’s Operational Plan 2019-20, Jude Manahan, President, Moruya Business Chamber identified several items that Council could added that would bring improvements to the town encouraging tourism and liveability and hopefully work to offset the impending proposed Moruya Bypass that is forecast to now be just a few years away.
Ms Manahan said “Toilet block, main street garden beds and town clock are all in need of immediate attention as they are below standard and reflect badly on the town. “Without a secure location to park a bike while in town the promotion of health and outdoor activities, for children and adults can not be pursued. We want the streets of Moruya to be vibrant and alive with pedestrians which includes those arriving by bicycle.”
The four items the Chamber offered under the Tourism heading focussed on attracting visitors to Moruya to make their stay to be easy and memorable identifying simple tasks, easily implemented, such as the marking out of the long wheel vehicle parking spaces that currently exist at Russ Martin Park and Church Street, Riverside Park. “What’s needed is the tared road to be marked with white lines to clearly ‘easily’ show that the space is for long wheel base vehicles, in particular RV’s.” she told councillors.
The Chamber also asked for recognition of the role that the Moruya Town & Visitor Information Centre plays, manned by volunteers and open from December and January for the last 3 years, engaging with 1000 visitors and locals, handed out over 3000 pamphlets, tourism guides and business flyers. Ms Manahan said “The chamber coordinates the centre and the volunteer staff it’s visitor statements like, ‘nothing like talking to a local’ where we understand the significant impact of offering a friendly and engaging welcome, which in turn creates the memorability of Moruya and by extension the Eurobodalla Shire.
“The Chamber needs financial assistance as the coordinator’s role is not sustainable without it being a paid position. We are asking for $6,000 a year to pay for a part time person to coordinate the Moruya Town & Visitor Information Centre for the 2019/20 summer holiday period.” In regards to the proposed By-Pass Ms Manahan said “With the announcement of a Moruya ByPass by the local MP Andrew Constance in March this year, it is all the more imperative that the Chamber works with council to ensure both the RV self contained short stay and development of a Moruya Destination strategy is achieved in the short term i.e. 2019/20. “ “To meet these challenges that lay ahead for Moruya we ask that a council and chamber joint Bypass Strategy sunset committee be formed, through which we can address issues and develop the potential benefits.
“ RMS through the building of a By-Pass will create an anticipated massive negative impact on Moruya small retail businesses. The Chamber in representing small business in Moruya needs to be aware and kept up to date with advancements in the project and we anticipate a joint Bypass Strategy sunset committee would meet this need.” When told by Councillor Nathan, offering a challenge rather than any empathy, during the Public Forum presentation that "in her experience" she understood that the effect of a by-pass on businesses after the initial disruption "would be positive" Ms Manahan responded "Moruya will be the only town drivers will bypass on the South Coast between Nowra and Bega." "Having already been to Batemans Bay, Mogo and then heading south to Bodalla and Narooma there will be no reason to stop in Moruya". Councillor Maureen Nathan continued in her challenge dismissing the concerns offering Berry as an example of a positive outcome. Ms Manahan quietly reminded the councillor that Berry was a "destination town" and as such there was no comparison to be made with Moruya going on to correctly advise the councillor that discussions with the Bega Chamber of Commerce revealed the town took 12 months to recover after its bypass was built adding "Twelve months is quite an impact on small businesses." With businesses still financially reeling from the street-scaping disruptions in Batemans Bay and the removal of the off ramp into Clyde Street from the new Bridge there are now concerns being voiced by Batemans Bay business houses that Council and the RMS have not addressed the financial impact of the by-pass they are effectively building around Batemans Bay.