Boost for boat ramp, men's shed works

TWO Yarriambiack Shire community groups received State Government money for infrastructure upgrades yesterday.

Minyip Men's Shed will upgrade its shed after receiving $7210, while Lake Marma's boat ramp will be replaced with $24,800.

Lake Marma management committee secretary Mark Schache said the money would replace the existing ramp with a single-lane boat ramp.

He said the new ramp, as well as separate improvements to the lake's barbecue area, would create a family-friendly atmosphere.

"Hopefully this will attract more users and make it easier for people to launch their vessels," he said.

"We think it will bring more people to the lake and the town so there will be a financial spin-off for businesses.

"At the moment we have a non-power boat policy on the lake but it is used by quite a few people for kayaking and fishing.

"We are still looking at introducing power boats to the lake but that has to be approved by Transport Safety Victoria."

Mr Schache said he hoped construction would be complete within three months.

Minyip Men's Shed secretary and treasurer John Niewand said the State Government grant would fund shed improvements and allow the group to buy new equipment.

He said the men's shed was a wonderful organisation because it gave men a new outlook on life.

"I will be very happy to receive this money and bank it straight away," he said.

"It is an outlet for men in the district; we don't mind if people come along for a coffee and a chat or whether they come along to do some work.

"We have retired motor mechanics and retired farmers and they are 'Jack of all trades' but master of none so it is amazing the things they turn out."

Minister for Water and Member for Swan Hill Peter Walsh said a new boat ramp would continue the evolution of Lake Marma, which was guaranteed an annual water allocation of 100 megalitres in March 2011.

"It is just exciting to see the development of the lake for the Murtoa community," he said.

"The provision of safe boat launching ramps is vital to the growth of recreational fishing and boating in this state.

"The men's shed is also a great thing for country towns and for the community.

"The men's shed program is addressing an important need in our communities by providing an outlet for men to use those handyman and construction skills built over a lifetime of learning and community contribution."

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