Vegemite, history and nature could be key to ensuring the sustainability of a town that faces the prospect of bypass.
Members of the Beaufort community are working proactively to ensure their ‘rough diamond’ town is bypass ready.
Pyrenees Shire councillor Damian Ferrari said ‘bypass ready’ meant discussion and action needed to start now.
We can’t leave it until the cars or the trucks have gone out of the main streetDamian Ferrari, Pyrenees Shire councillor
Beaufort Progress Association president Liz Robinson said volunteers were working to establish a strong calendar of events for 2019 to make Beaufort a destination of choice for visitors rather than a stop on their way through.
“We are working with some of the groups to expand and enhance their existing events, make them more tourist friendly and cast their marketing nets wider so they can attract more guests,” she said. “A lot of what we need is already here, it just needs to be packaged, so that is what we are working on.”
Ms Robinson said Beaufort’s appearance on ABC television show Back Roads on January 14 had helped draw attention to the town and gain momentum on plans to use Vegemite as a tourism drawcard.
The progress association is working to create a museum on the inventor of Vegemite Cyril Callister who was born in neighbouring town Chute.
For a taste of Vegemite’s potential in Beaufort, retailers are featuring Vegemite themed items on their menus for the Australia Day weekend.
Mr Ferrari said the Pyrenees Shire Council was working to create plans for towns in the Pyrenees to implement short term and long term solutions for their viability, with Beaufort a strong focus.
“We need to have a reason why people want to come here and make our town a little wow factor for that to happen. A lot of that will revolve around the cultural and historical offerings here,” he said.
Other focus areas for improvement include the Beaufort Lake, marketing and exposure, and capitalising on existing major events Rainbow Serpent Festival and the Lake Goldsmith Steam Rally.
While some in town have expressed concern about the sustainability of businesses that rely on tourists and passing trade, the new owner of Cafe Fifty6 said the bypass had not been on her mind when she took over the business three weeks ago.
“In my thoughts it won’t affect me. It isn’t even planned yet. It will still be years away,” she said.
Pyrenees Shire Council continues to meet regularly with VicRoads as it works through hydrological, environmental and cultural heritage assessments to assist in identifying a preferred bypass alignment.