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Echuca candidates: Council has backed away from Port of Echuca management. Is it enough?

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October 01, 2016

EIGHT candidates will contest Campaspe Shire’s Echuca ward next month.

The Riverine Herald asked each of them seven questions below.

Current mayor Leigh Wilson (Rochester ward), Adrian Weston (Waranga ward) and Leanne Pentreath (Western ward) will be returned to council unopposed so were not included in the questionnaire.

Voting for the election closes on October 21 before the election is declared on October 31.

Their answers, in ballot order, are as follows:


Paul Jarman

I declare a conflict in that but as a Port of Echuca tenant it is my understanding that council has tried to put a management structure in place so that we can try and deliver better value for the ratepayer, the visitor and a commercial return on the tenancies in the Port of Echuca.

At the end of the day it’s ratepayer assets and a ratepayer deserves to get a fair and full rent for the investments they hold.

Tom Weyrich

No.

Once again we need to retain control but not responsibility.

I don’t know whether the answer is we just wipe the table clean and start again or do we resurrect, do we try and modify?

Echuca-Moama Tourism is heavily funded by Campaspe and Murray Shires.

It seems that every few years EMT is in fear of falling over, collapsing.

Something is fundamentally wrong.

It’s a bit like driving down the freeway and having smoke come out from under the bonnet and you pull up and check the tyres, we’re not getting to the guts of the problem.

And there are other issues besides the Port.

It is not the be-all-and-end-all of Campaspe Shire.

Sick and tired of people talking to me about it, we need to fix it.

Annie Vickers

No.

I think we need to go back to the old system, the Port Authority. Then they report to council but they do the day-to-day running.

Kris Munro

Personally, I don’t think it’s enough.

Eric Grumont

They’ve only backed away from the Port of Echuca because they got it wrong and they won’t admit they got it wrong because they should be embarrassed.

And they’ve got to come back to a conciliatory basis so that any decision is known to the people that trade down there.

There was a saying going around: ‘The jewel in the crown — it’s plastic’, and that’s basically what it is.

It can be turned around and can be worked in a better way, especially the leasing processes where as tenants have a security of leasing ... They built a discovery centre which now they are backing away from. Why? Does it make money or not?

Peter Williams

My personal opinion and it’s a very strong one and I’ve held it for a long, long time is that I believe the Port of Echuca, which includes the museums, the boats, the properties should be set up as an independent trust wholly owned by council along the lines of Central Deborah Gold Mine in Bendigo or Sovereign Hill.

What you would get with that trust type structure is that the assets would be protected forever for the community and for the benefit of the community but you would end up with a more economic model.

You would select a board on the basis of the skills and interests and obviously heritage would be right up there and good business management.

The next level of the Port of Echuca model that was around and has been talked about, and I think it would be a solid business.

Run well it would be a very profitable business.

Rohan Burgess

Yes I do.

It’s appropriate but there needs to be a new committee of council similar to the Port of Echuca Authority ... setting a new two year plan because there is no plan. And that needs to dovetail EMT and destination Echuca.

Daniel Mackrell

I believe that within council they believe that they have but the perception out there is that they are still fully involved with running the Port and if you look they’ve actually won awards recently so they must be doing something right in that space.

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