09/05 Small house movement might just help region

Warncoort’s Shacky by Melbourne social entrepreneur Joep Pennartz and farmer Tom Dennis

The small house movement, like Warncoort’s Shacky by Melbourne social entrepreneur Joep Pennartz and farmer Tom Dennis could help entice visitors to stay. Photo by Luis Enrique Ascui

Geelong [Victoria, Australia] we have a BIG problem that might be fixed by something small.

Every day Avalon Airport delivers increasing numbers of interstate and foreign travellers to Geelong’s outskirts. People from around Victoria come to the stunning You Yangs Regional Park to experience the peace and invigoration of the bush.

Others seek the thrill of active pursuits like hiking, mountain bike riding, orienteering, bush walking and horse riding.

Multimillion dollar movies and television series filmmakers have long recognised the You Yangs and surrounding districts as inspiring locations to create their Australian onscreen magic.

Tiny room holds small attraction

Echidna Walkabout and other International tour groups bring overseas visitors here for authentic Australian experiences — people wanting to discover more about our indigenous history visit Wurdi Youang, near the You Yangs, one of our country’s most significant ancient Aboriginal sites.

The picturesque scenery and historical buildings of Ballan, Little River, Lara and Anakie entice visitors to our unique area.

The district surrounding the You Yangs has a reputation for producing outstanding ingredients and gourmet cuisine, so people seeking epicurean delights also flock to our region.

Since so many people visit our region, where is the problem?

The area surrounding the You Yangs is desperately lacking accommodation, so is only set up for day-trippers. The area is missing out on an enormous income stream by not offering travellers somewhere to sleep.

Hosting overnight visitors would enable the Lara, You Yangs and wider regions to flourish with greater investment, reaping income from providing meals, tours, pampering services, activities and shopping.

American reality television programs may have provided an economical, environmentally friendly and creative solution for the lack of tourist beds.

I am not suggesting Survivor Geelong, Lara as the next home of Big Brother or that we host The Bachelor in Anakie.

The latest craze in cost-effective housing currently sweeping the US, the “Tiny House” movement is celebrated in a range of pay TV and free to air channel 94 programs, including Tiny House Hunters, Tiny House Big Living and Tiny Luxury. These shows illustrate how small dwellings might meet the area’s accommodation needs.

Tiny room holds small attraction

Our region could secure a unique advantage over other places that attract tourism by creating innovative, locally produced and flexible accommodation via tiny houses. This idea could generate regional employment in the design, construction, fitout and installation of petite dwellings as accommodation for visitors.

Despite their size, cleverly thought-out buildings have the ability to boast multi-level living spaces, king-sized beds, fully equipped modern kitchens, relaxing lounge rooms, generously appointed bathrooms, European laundries plus outdoor decking.

Read more – http://www.geelongadvertiser.com.au/news/opinion/jodie-whittaker-small-house-movement-might-just-help-region/news-story/9fcd9b14fb0e0444788149cdefaa2c91

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Elaine Walker