A study tour is helping Toowoomba strengthen its ties with New Zealand.
A week across the ditch has seen Toowoomba Mayor Paul Antonio talk all things trade, tourism, redevelopments and even mountain biking.
He says it's a great way to learn from a country who has already completed some of the things we want to do.
“The real value of this visit is in not ‘re-inventing the wheel’ and instead learning from the experience of those that have completed similar projects.
“If Council is serious about developing Mountain Biking trails, the Bridge Street Quarry and adventure tourism it is important we learn from our New Zealand counterparts who have done this all before.
“Our region already has the landscape, the climate and the location for these types of developments, but we need to understand the best way of undertaking them, ensuring they are feasible, affordable and a priority for us, Mayor Antonio said.
“Council delegates met with Whangarei Quarry Gardens Trust, the world class 25 hectare community garden project created in a disused stone quarry, which has strong alignment with our own ambitions for the Bridge Street Quarry.
“A project like the Bridge Street Quarry redevelopment is too important to get wrong and mistakes in the development of such a proposal would only cost the community. This visit provided Council with the opportunity to learn from the people directly involved in creating the gardens from its inception 20 years ago.
“Council delegates learnt about the vital role of volunteers, the importance of master planning, engaging with commercial interests early and the value of getting the correct governance structures in place before proceeding with such a major revitalisation project, Mayor Antonio said.
“During this visit Council also met with adventure tourism group “Heads-Up Adventures” about the real opportunities for adventure tourism that complements our bold ambition of becoming a centre of excellence for mountain biking.
“A visit to Whakarewarewa Forest in Rotorua, home world-class mountain biking tracks, provided an example of how our region might combine sports tourism with adventure tourism, Mayor Antonio said.
“Adventure tourism is a driving force in the economies of the area around Whangarei, Rotorua and Queenstown and private companies are actively investing in this industry.
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