Bega Valley Shire Council has successfully secured NSW Government funding to upgrade and improve the Merimbula Lake foreshore and boardwalk.
Delivered as part of the Department of Regional NSW’s Regional Tourism Activation Fund, the $8 million grant will fully replace the existing boardwalk, upgrade foreshore sections and add a range of new features to keep it as one of the top tourist attractions on the south coast.
Council’s CEO, Anthony McMahon said this is a major win for the area, with potential to attract greater visitor investment in Merimbula and across the Bega Valley.
“We have successfully taken this project from planning, public consultation and design to the most exciting part where we can deliver an upgraded boardwalk to the community,” Mr McMahon said.
“The Merimbula boardwalk has been the go-to spot in town for the past 25 years. Trip Advisor rates a stroll on the boardwalk as the number one activity, so it’s excellent news to have state government support in delivering this project.
“As it’s a much-loved piece of infrastructure, it’s only right that we have involved the community in development of the concept designs.
“A huge thank-you to everyone who contributed and I am pleased to say the final concept design can now be found on our website.
“We have factored in one of the most popular requests, which is to widen the boardwalk from 1.5 to 2 metres. It can sometimes be a bit of a squeeze on the boardwalk as it is, so widening it will allow more people to get out and enjoy everything this community asset has to offer.
“The decking will include fibre reinforced plastic grating in sensitive saltmarsh environments that need better light penetration to thrive.
“With future cost minimisation in mind, the boardwalk is designed to be easily maintained and to last much longer than the current treated pine boardwalk that was built by Green Corp trainees in 1997.”
Mr McMahon said the new boardwalk will be a community asset for everyone to enjoy.
“The upgraded boardwalk will be flat, with additional seating areas accessible to people with prams and wheelchairs and will include greater access to the track with dedicated accessible parking bays at each end,” Mr McMahon said.
“Perhaps my favourite part is its greater connection to the natural environment. There will be an extended fishing area, better viewing spots and an improved wading area. So if you turn up with a rod and reel, a pair of binoculars or just a pair of thongs, there will be something for you at the boardwalk.
“Our next step is to finalise design beyond the concept stage and seek planning approvals from appropriate authorities. With approvals in place, we will prepare for construction, which will be carried out in 2025.
“This is big news for our area. Upgrading an asset ranked online as the fifth best boardwalk in Australia will only attract more visitors and greater investment to the shire.