Local businesses boom as a result of opening reservoirs

Saturday 03 October 2020

Business is booming for communities near reservoirs which have been recently opened for recreational access by the Marshall Liberal Government.

The Barossa Valley is the latest region to benefit with South Para and Warren reservoir reserves both recently opened for recreational access including kayaking and fishing.

Williamstown traders in particular have seen an economic boost from extra visitors to the region with a new business – Barossa Kayak Hire – due to open in the coming weeks as a direct result of the access to South Para and Warren reservoirs.

The Fleurieu Peninsula town of Myponga was the first to benefit from the Marshall Liberal Government’s Opening up our Reservoirs policy with 50,000 people now having visited the reservoir since it was opened in April 2019.

Minister for Environment and Water David Speirs said for too long these high-quality natural environments had been locked away from the public.

“To have South Australians be able to go out on a kayak or drop a line for fishing at reservoirs across our state is an opportunity which will have significant environmental, social and economic benefits for generations to come,” Minister Speirs said.

“We went to the election with a clear plan to open up our reservoirs for people to enjoy and have been busy working to make this a reality ever since.

“South Australians have been voting with their feet and it’s great to see local businesses benefiting from increased visitors to our regions, boosting our economy and creating jobs.

“Traders at both Myponga and Williamstown have told me how much of a boost it’s been for their local communities and to hear about a brand new business starting up in the Barossa as a direct result of increased recreational access at our reservoirs further demonstrates the success of this policy.

“I look forward to expanding this to other reservoirs around the state which will allow South Australian families to enjoy these picturesque landscapes which have been locked away under former governments.”

Barossa Kayak Hire’s Matt Hale said his business will allow visitors to hire fishing and kayak equipment at Warren Reservoir.

“The local community was thrilled when both South Para and Warren reservoirs were opened for kayaking and fishing,” Mr Hale said.

“We’ve seen an increase of visitors to the region wanting to get on the water and drop a line and we saw an opportunity to start a business which would make this access even easier.

“Previously people had to bring their own equipment which can be difficult for some, but we wanted families and beginners to be able to do get involved so now all you will have to do is rock up and we can supply you with all the gear you need.”

Barossa Kayak Hire has been given trial licence to operate at Warren Reservoir and will have two designated launch areas at Gate 1 and the Old Bridge.

Local community groups and organisations can also now apply to take part in the inaugural Reservoirs Partnerships Program, which provides up to $10,000 in financial support for grassroots activities and initiatives using South Australia’s reservoir reserves for exploration, conservation and nature-based recreation whilst preserving these special environments.

“There are many local clubs and community groups from across South Australia that want to connect more with these outdoor spaces and can benefit from using our beautiful reservoir reserves for their next activity or public event, and I’m excited to see how our new program can help,” Minister Speirs said.

Applications close 2 November 2020, for more information or to apply for the 2020 Reservoirs Partnerships Program, visit reservoirs.sa.gov.au.

Myponga Reservoir is open for land-based recreational activities and shoreline fishing is also available with a permit. On-water access for kayaking will be introduced in early to mid-2021.

Bundaleer, South Para and Warren Reservoirs are open for fishing, kayaking, walking, and cycling.

Hope Valley Reservoir will be open for land-based recreational activities by the end of 2020.

Happy Valley Reservoir will offer kayaking, fishing, walking and cycling opportunities by the end of next year.