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River trail to boost tourism

Canoeing and kayaking can boost Clarence Valley tourism.
Canoeing and kayaking can boost Clarence Valley tourism.

AFTER 28 years of sitting on prime land on the edge of the Nymboida River, Hugh Bernard is putting the wheels in motion to boost tourism in the Clarence Valley.

Mr Bernard hopes to turn his 81ha property off Black Mountain Rd into a camping ground with 13 primitive sites and amenities for guests and river-users as they take on the canoe and kayak trail.

He said if all was approved by the council, the new camping ground, estimated to cost $9800, would attract people to the region and encourage them to enjoy the great outdoors.

"We already have people coming from all over just to camp here and they call it 'their spot' because it's so beautiful and they've been coming for years and years," Mr Bernard said.

"But what I am concerned about, is that when this new highway is built, people will just bypass (the Clarence Valley) and we could end up a ghost town," Mr Bernard said.

"We have such beautiful rivers here - it's our drawcard - so we need to do what we can now to show off these beautiful sites."

Mr Bernard said the 11 tent and camper-trailer sites and two caravan sites, plus amenities block, would work with the Clarence Valley Council's plan to promote the canoe and kayak trail.

"The council is all about this canoe and kayaking trail that's 185km from the Junction to Copmanhurst but we don't have the amenities for people to use on the way through," he said.

He said he had sprung people "doing their business" on his property more than once.

"You cannot have this trail without toilets in that area," Mr Bernard said.

"So if the council isn't going to put them in, let us do it.

"We're coming to support the council in their venture, so hopefully they will support us."

Mr Bernard also said with the loss of business at the Nymboida Canoe Centre due to the dry Goolang Creek, the number of visitors to Nymboida decreased by "about 20,000".

"An estimated 20,000 potential tourists will be brought back to the area," he said.

The development application of Mr Bernard and his wife Elenita McAlister's plans for White Water Downs will remain on display at the Grafton and Maclean council chambers until June 30.

You can view the documents from 8.30am-4pm.

Topics:  camping, clarence valley, nymboida, tourism

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