Dimboola's Picnic Bend boat ramp upgrade completed

ANGLERS and water skiers now have better access to the Wimmera River after Picnic Bend's boat ramp near Dimboola was upgraded.

Dimboola Boat and Water Ski Club received $29,186 in State Government funding to replace concrete sandbags that prevent erosion and install lighting and a floating walkway.

Club president Russell Hunter said the works were now complete.

"It looks fantastic," he said.

Mr Hunter said the upgrade would benefit all river users.

"It has improved the access to the river for everyone," he said.

"Lighting has also been installed, which lets people use the area in the dark."

Mr Hunter said the upgraded ramp had already been put to good use.

"The use of the boat ramp has been very high over the past few weeks," he said.

The works also included the installation of a floating walkway.

"People now have the ability to access vessels from the floating pontoon," Mr Hunter said.

"This is great if people are by themselves or have difficulty getting into vessels in the normal fashion.

"It enables more access to the river."

Mr Hunter said the upgrades were needed because the ramp was ageing.

"The ramp was still in its original condition from 1972," he said.

"The surrounding area has become quite unstable and hazardous to people walking on it.

"It definitely needed some sort of upgrade to make it fit for purpose."

Mr Hunter said since the upgrade, visitors to the river had increased.

"Everyone I have spoken to is over the moon by what was done at the ramp," he said.

The State Government grant funded 80 per cent of the project.

Mr Hunter said the ski club contributed $7200 towards the project.

He said club membership accounted for some of the money and the club also ran small fundraising activities to make up the rest. Mr Hunter said works took about a month to complete.

Member for Lowan Hugh Delahunty said the grant was part of the 2012-13 round of Boating Safety and Facility Program funding.

"Boating is a popular pastime, and we have some magnificent waterways in the Wimmera which are enjoyed by many people and attract thousands of tourists each year," he said.

"The State Government believes it is critical to ensure our waterways can be used safely in the Wimmera."

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