UPGRADES set to unlock Tailem Bend's riverfront and river travel potential were celebrated on Thursday, August 6 at Dickson Reserve.
A crowd of about 90 people gathered on the lawns at Dickson Reserve to commemorate the opening of the fixed floating pontoon, the latest project in a series of upgrades to Tailem Bend's central river reserve.
Attendees were greeted by the awaiting Captain Proud, the paddle boat described by Coorong mayor Paul Simmons as the 'ice-breaker' as it powered down the Murray to dock at the new multipurpose pontoon at Tailem Bend on a chilly morning.
Work on a new multi-purpose pontoon at Tailem Bend's Dickson Reserve finished last month and has already won the tick of approval of some river users.
Coorong District Council Mayor Paul Simmons said the opening of the pontoon rounded out the completion of the upgrade work at Dickson Reserve which has also included the removal of the willows, the installation of eight house boat moorings along the river bank.
"The improvements have now opened up our riverbank precinct and Tailem Bend township to be explored by new visitors and travellers via the River Murray," he said.
"It is fantastic to see this area grow and develop and we hope that we can take advantage of any future opportunities that may improve and activate this area of the Tailem Bend waterfront going forward."
Member for Hammond Adrian Pederick - a member of the River Murray Boating and Recreational Advisory group - said he understood how important it was for facilities along the river to promote access by all community members.
"Dickson Reserve is the township's only public reserve and suffered riverbank slumping and wharf damage during the millennium drought," he said.
"With an expected increase of 340,000 visitors per annum ... to Tailem Bend due to The Bend Motorsport Park, there is an opportunity to further enhance Dickson Reserve as a key boating hub.
"This pontoon will enable tour boats and other leisure craft to secure their vessels and visitors to walk up the existing staircase to access businesses and other tourism activities including The Bend Motorsport Park, Old Tailem Town and the golf course."
Last year, the Coorong District Council announced it received funding through the SA Boating Facilities Fund to enable the construction of the boating infrastructure at Dickson Reserve.
The council received a grant of $125,000 to assist the council in the $300,000 project.