You could hear the money rolling in as the sun shone on Liberal Senator Eric Abetz and EdenMonaro candidate Peter Hendy on Tuesday.
They were here to announce a $10 million commitment from the Liberal Party to fund an extension to Eden’s breakwater wharf, should they win government come Election Day.
That promise equals one already made by Labor incumbent Mike Kelly, that Regional Development Australia Funds (RDAF) of $10 million would be released for the wharf should Labor be re-elected.
Now, whatever the result on poll day, Eden and the wider region look set to be winners.
Pressure has been brought to bear on Hendy through a strong campaign driven by the local community.
At its heart have been members of the Port of Eden Marina Inc (POEM) group, the Eden Chamber of Commerce, and the tireless efforts of outgoing Bega Valley Shire Council general manager Peter Tegart, who was present and beaming at Tuesday’s announcement in spite of being officially off duty.
“This is tremendous news,” Mr Tegart said.
“We’re delighted to think both candidates in this election have come forward and committed $10 million to this project.
“It means the earth for Eden. It’s the start of the transformation into a tourism hub and an opportunity to kick start the cruise industry, the marina industry and hopefully the marine research industry going forward.
“It’s great news and we thank all candidates for their investment.”
The extension to the breakwater wharf paves the way for cruise ships to berth in the port, providing an economic life buoy for the once-timber and fishing town, currently sinking slowly under the weight of no prospects.
Rob Bain from POEM has championed long and hard to secure a commitment to revitalising this key asset for the region.
He is calling the news “…a victory for the community”.
“This is just a great start to redevelop this whole area around us. It’s a fishing port that has gone quiet in recent years and is going to have a whole rebirth with cruise ships, and a bit further down the track a marina and charter boats and you won’t know it in five to ten years’ time,” Mr Bain said.
“It’s very much a victory for the local community through POEM and the local Chamber of Commerce.”
Peter Barber, the Eden Chamber vice president agreed.
“This is where it’s all going to happen… And I believe it’s going to do wonderful things for tourism, which is so important to Eden these days.
“It would be remiss of me if I didn’t really express our profound gratitude to Peter Tegart for his dogged persistence in seeing the project through to this stage,” Mr Barber said.
He finished by cheering “Go Eden!”
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