Gum Swamp, usually a serene nature reserve, has been a hive of activity as work commences on the installation of three new bird hides.
Midpro have spent four months constructing the two-storey frames for the new hides off-site at their depot. Last Tuesday, the steel footings were driven into place near the water’s edge in preparation for the timber and steel structures to be transported out to site and assembled.
In addition to the construction of three new bird hides, the existing hide was recently refurbished as part of the Gum Swamp redevelopment project.
Built in 1992 with support from Dick Smith, Australian Geographic, and several local community groups, the ‘bunker’ was in dire need of a makeover.
Forbes Arts Society’s Chairperson, Dr Karen Ritchie said, “The existing bird hide has been a tremendous community and tourism asset for close to 30 years, so we are delighted to see it refurbished to be utilised for decades to come.”
While Gum Swamp is commonly known as a destination for bird watchers, this project will encourage residents and visitors to utilise the wetland sanctuary for other passive recreational activities.
“The landscape lends itself to a diverse range of opportunities. We hope that this redevelopment will attract new user groups, including photographers, artists, health and wellness enthusiasts, and those wishing to just immerse themselves in nature,” Karen said.
Work on the new bird hides is anticipated to be complete by April 2021. Construction of the new pathways, and installation of handrails, seating and wayfinding signage will commence thereafter.
The Gum Swamp redevelopment is part of the $7 million ‘Boosting the Lachlan Valley Economy Art Project’, proudly funded by the NSW Government’s Restart NSW program through the Regional Growth, Environment and Tourism Development Fund, the Forbes Arts Society, Forbes Shire Council, Lachlan Shire Councils and Evolution Mining.
Member for NSW Upper House, Sam Farraway MP said the redevelopment of the bird hides will boost tourism and improve the visitor experience. “This initiative is exactly what the Regional Growth, Environment and Tourism Development Fund is designed to deliver, and I am thrilled to see it becoming a reality,” Sam said.