In 2021, the Visitor Information Centre (VIC) that was established at the Causeway, was moved to the City of Victor Harbor’s Coral Street Art Space.
But the VIC will move to the Railway Goods Shed, in March 2022.
“Work continues to refurbish one of Victor Harbor’s iconic heritage buildings, the Railway Goods Shed. Following renovations, the Railway Goods Shed will be the home of the Victor Harbor Visitor Information Centre, which will include the South Australian Whale Centre,” the council spokesperson said.
“The new Visitor Centre will be located within the newly transformed Railway Plaza and will connect closely with the next stage of Victor Harbor’s Mainstreet Precinct upgrade, which is set to revitalise Albert Place and the southern end of Ocean Street.”
Construction is scheduled to be complete in March 2022 and a public opening will follow.
The construction program is dependent on materials supplies, availability of contractor labour and other unknown COVID impacts.
The current budget is $989,000, which is offset by grant funding of $355,740 through the Commonwealth Government Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program Phase 1.
“The project is tracking within the current approved budget. Council endorsed budget increases in March and September 2021 as part of the quarterly budget reviews,” the council spokesperson said.
“Budget increases were required due to complexities of working within a State Heritage listed building. The presence of an undetected perched water table has also impacted on delivering the project within the initial budget estimate.”
Volunteers of the VIC have been disillusioned with the process and some have walked away.
“We do not know what is happening. Once we had 60 volunteers, now it is just over 20. All we want is answers,” VIC volunteer since 2003 Jan Hangar said.
“At the Causeway we were a group of passionate volunteers. At the art space we have no presence and the fact that we will not have a presence of an info centre near the Causeway during the busiest time of year is ridiculous. Coral Street is not an accessible site for visitors, with no hope of parking your caravan out front!
“The saddest thing is the volunteers are all in limbo and pretty much over it, many have walked away altogether.”
Lyn Sinclair has been a volunteer for six years and agrees with Jan.
“This has been going on for a very long time and people do not know we are here in Coral Street. It is an art space,” Lyn said.
“If council really do not want a Visitor Information Centre, just tell us, but we love the connection we have with visitors and locals and we are clinging to the fact that when we do move in, we can recapture that passion.
“We love our community and promoting what is great about Victor Harbor and the Fleurieu.”
The Whale Centre has now been closed for 12 months and the Visitor Centre has been operating from the Coral Street Art Space since January.
The council spokesperson said the newly refurbished Victor Harbor Visitor Centre, which includes the South Australian Whale Centre, would provide a new and modern facility to assist council staff and volunteers with the promotion of Victor Harbor as a highly desirable holiday destination.
“The new centre will support the provision of information about local attractions, tours, accommodation, events and activities,” the spokesperson said.
“The whale interpretive centre and education programming will also continue as an opportunity for visitors, the public and school children to learn about whales and the local marine environment.
“The centre will also assist the public with whale sighting information through the whale watching season, which runs from May to October each year.”
The City of Victor Harbor spokesperson said the combination of the Visitor Information and Whale Centres will offer so much to the community and the city’s many visitors.
“The redesign and refurbishment has focussed on exposing and showcasing the heritage fabric of the State Heritage listed building,” the spokesperson said.
“Smoke tainted walls from the steam trains of a previous era, exposed beams and stonework are significant features and will be of interest to those who visit. The design of the building also provides space that can be used for a variety of activities and events, enhancing its flexibility.”