Visitor Information Centre celebrates decade of service to Lake Bolac

The popular Lake Bolac Visitor Information and Business Centre.THE Lake Bolac Visitor Information and Business Centre will celebrate ten years of service to the district this month.

The vision for the Lake Bolac centre surged back in 2003 with the community demonstrating a need for basic services such as banking, public internet access, tourist information, copying and centrelink to be accessed locally.

The centre was an initiative of the Lake Bolac Development Association and was officially opened on November 26 2004. Construction was funded by the Federal Government’s Rural Transaction Centres Program.

A volunteer project committee, consisting of Karen McIntyre, Colin McKenzie, Tom Atkinson, Kerry Hamence, George Murray and Flavia Hill worked tirelessly for almost two years before the centre was completed. During this time Willaura/Lake Bolac Community Bank supporters sought pledges to launch the bank branches and a very successful response ensured the whole project came together to achieve the facility enjoyed by all to this day.

According to LBIBC president, Karen McIntyre, the site initially consisted of little more than a condemned playground and a frail cypress plantation.

“It was a daunting prospect but everything you see here today is testament to the ‘can do’ attitude and willingness of the local community volunteers to make Lake Bolac and district a better place,” she said.

The original building includes reception and retail display space, computer suite, Willaura/Lake Bolac Community Bank branch, rental office, meeting room, historical collection store room, kitchen, cleaning and bathroom facilities.

Since then improvements in and around have included a Bendigo Bank ATM, GPSnet mast and antenna, the award winning 120 metre ‘Heritage Plaques Walk’, restored antique Fordson tractor, playground equipment installations, barbecue, picnic shelters, seating, landscaping, lighting, shade cloth and signage and all abilities access.

The building was extended to house a library which opened in December 2012 – a project of the State Government’s Living Libraries Infrastructure Fund, Ararat Rural City Council and Lake Bolac Information and Business Centre.

The library, which houses approximately 1300 titles, is open seven days a week and has been strongly welcomed with now over 160 members and includes the library space, reading room, a storage facility, historical displays and the storyboard ‘Lake Bolac – dry to full after years of drought’.

Never resting on its laurels the LBiBC committee has adopted a three year marketing plan for the centre and co-operating with the Lake Bolac Community Action Plan the locals intend to further develop the information centre precinct with new playground equipment, extra seating, mini-golf and Wi-Fi capability.

The Centre is able to open seven days a week and is managed by Lyn Webster and a team of community volunteers. Retail stock includes local products and a wide range of gifts.

“It hasn’t been easy delivering all the facilities but it has been immensely rewarding to see the vision come to reality,” Ms McIntyre said.

“I am sure I speak for the many other dedicated volunteers when I say we are proud to have been a part of the transformation and we look forward to fulfilling our future plans.

“Our volunteers have been the lifeblood of the centre. In the beginning they trained in office procedures and have grown to perform all manner of enquiries including the new library services. They have coped capably with the ups and downs of the past decade, particularly the depressing situations of prolonged drought, dry lake, bushfires and low incomes.

“All along we have remained positive and continued to improve our centre and our excellent customer service.”

The birthday celebrations will include a light luncheon and photograph display from 12 – 2pm with a presentation at 1pm next Wednesday November 26.

Past committee members and all volunteers past and present are welcome to attend. For information please phone 5350 2204.

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