Flood recovery continues as voucher scheme opens, parks reopen and fish thrive
Here's how you can win a voucher towards a River Murray holiday, an update on Murray Bridge riverfront reserves and more.
Riverfront reserves are reopening, native species are thriving and tourists are on their way as the Murraylands’ flood recovery continues.
Firstly: thousands more visitors will hopefully come to visit the Murraylands over the coming months now that a state government voucher scheme has opened.
About 120,000 people registered for the River Revival voucher scheme in its first 24 hours.
Residents of South Australia and Victoria have until 10pm this Wednesday to register to win vouchers for experiences and accommodation along the River Murray.
Among dozens of participating local businesses are:
Big accommodation providers: the Bridgeport Hotel, the Rydges Pit Lane Hotel, the Big 4 the Bend Holiday Park, the Murray Princess, Waterfront Holiday Park, the Adelaide Road Motor Lodge, the Wellington Hotel and Avoca Dell Caravan Park
Houses for hire, floating or otherwise: River Shack Rentals, Bill’s Boathouse, Ark-imedes, Olley’s Place and River Life
Experiences like the Bend Motorsport Park, Captain Proud Cruises, Juggle House Experiences and Murray Bridge Kayaking (Freedom Boat Hire)
State Tourism Minister Zoe Bettison said vouchers were an effective way of directing visitor spending towards flood-affected regions.
“More than 90 operators across our Riverland and Murray River, Lakes and Coorong regions are set to welcome thousands of lucky voucher holders over the cooler months, helping fill accommodation, tours, local cafes, pubs and shops,” she said.
“The River Revival voucher program will bring people and economic activity into the region when and where it is needed most, with the first of three rounds firing up travel during autumn, Easter, the April school holidays and into June.”
Enter to win a voucher: Visit www.southaustralia.com/voucher before 10pm this Wednesday, March 29.
Riverfront reserves reopen, though two playgrounds remain off-limits
Meanwhile, the Murray Bridge council has reopened four of those riverfront reserves we mentioned: Woodlane, Sunnyside, Avoca Dell and Thiele Reserves.
However, the playgrounds at Woodlane and Thiele Reserve remain out-of-bounds for now.
The boat ramp at Bells Landing, at Monteith, also remains closed.
Still, Murray Bridge council CEO Michael Sedgman said, it was good to see progress being made.
“We are extremely happy to be reopening the rest of our most popular riverfront reserves while the weather’s still warm enough to enjoy them,” he said.
Hume Reserve, Tumbella Drive Reserve and Riverglen will be next on the council’s hit list.
Floods’ environmental benefits are starting to show
Finally, fish and turtle numbers are improving across the River Murray, Lower Lakes and Coorong as a result of all the extra water that has flowed through the system in recent months.
State Climate, Environment and Water Minister Susan Close said young Murray cod, silver perch and golden perch had all been spotted in the river, while the University of Adelaide and Ngarrindjeri Aboriginal Corporation had been monitoring the recovery of turtle populations in the lakes.
“While the flood took a heavy toll on many communities, as predicted, we are now seeing widespread environmental benefits throughout the Riverland, Murraylands and Lower Lakes,” she said.
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