OUR SAY: Could hub become our own Gold Creek?

Many of us would know Canberra’s Gold Creek Village from our own travels and can imagine the value a similar idea would bring to Orange.

The village is home to a tea house, boutique shops, restaurants, a dinosaur museum, gallery, reptile park and Cockington Green Gardens and has become a cherished part of the fabric of the area since 1979.

Residents recently signed a petition against a KFC proposed for the site.

Totally Local is planning a similar shopping outcrop at the Agrestic Grocer site, only this one would be dedicated to food and beverages produced in the area.

While the types of shops are not yet confirmed, bakeries, chocolatiers and honey producers have already been flagged as possible shop occupants.

Meanwhile, there will be opportunities for the existing tenants in dining, cheese and beer to expand their offerings. 

Many travellers prefer the discovery aspect of a journey.

The wine trails promoted are an ideal pastime for people with a bit more time and there is a certain satisfaction that comes from visiting a few places in a day. 

A food and wine hub might remove that aspect somewhat.

But if the general success of one-stop centres is anything to go by, having a hub dedicated to produce should enable producers to maximise their return because it will save tourists passing through Orange the trouble of travelling to individual locations.

As the farmers markets are only held once a month, it could also create more consistent patronage.

This would not only be effective for tourists who miss the markets, but also for residents who wish to support brands from their own backyard. 

With any luck, people who only sample the hub’s future offerings might be encouraged to come back.

The site is already a major tourism attraction and it does highlight the development’s possible future responsibility to the wider industry as a launch point to other attractions.

This would be the case not only for cellar doors, but also Huntley Berry Farm and Orange Regional Museum and Gallery.

No doubt, this will be a consideration for the regional tourism organisation due to take effect from July, as the role of visitor information centres will be one of its core challenges.

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