Motion was carried at last council meeting

Wakfield Regional Council chief executive officer Jason Kuchel said community workshops will be held during the process.
Wakfield Regional Council chief executive officer Jason Kuchel said community workshops will be held during the process.

Wakefield Regional Council took the first steps to boost tourism in the region at the October 25 council meeting.

Earlier this year the WRC released its Strategic Management Plan for 2017-22 which focused on developing the region in terms of population growth and tourism capture.

At the most recent council meeting, the motion to begin the identification process of capturing tourists in the Wakefield region was carried.

Wakefield currently sees high volumes of tourists passing through towns in the region on the way to the Copper Coast and the Yorke Peninsula, particularly around Port Wakefield. 

At this stage, council is not focused on increasing over night stays instead choosing to focus on enticing tourists to spend a morning or an afternoon when passing through the region.

Wakefield Regional Council chief executive officer Jason Kuchel said that ways to divert tourists off of Port Wakefield Road would need to be identified.

“We have to, particularly in the case of Port Wakefield, capture more spend in that particular location and part of that is about diverting them off of the highway,” Mr Kuchel said.

“Initially it is about finding ways just to get them to divert, spend some extra money in our region because they are already travelling through it anyway and through that it will build on to more things in the future.”

Mr Kuchel said the plan would include realistic goals, rather than creating a grand plan that could not be reached and would “sit on a shelf.”

The next step will be to consult with the public and involve them in the process through community workshops set up by council.

Already council has identified a number of factors that are hindering tourist numbers in the region which includes a lack of 24-hour fuel and food, a lack of shops opening during the evenings and on weekends, and the need for signage to entice tourists off of the highway.

Recently the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure installed signage to encourage tourists to divert from Port Wakefield to Balaklava to avoid the bottleneck on Port Wakefield Road, particularly on long weekends.

The commencement of the project will be within council’s budget, however there is only a small available amount of funding for an activity of this nature.