WARRAGAMBA has fallen into a slumber thanks to the closure of the “quiet beast”.
The dam has been closed to the public since 1998 and the town has been in hibernation ever since.
Warragamba Silverdale Residents Alliance (WSRA) president Matt Gould is putting together a plan to bring the town back to life by revitalising its tourism industry.
“Our No. 1 priority is getting public access back to the dam wall,” Mr Gould said.
“In days gone by when the public did have access to the dam there was countless numbers of tourists here, and with the dam wall being closed that has obviously had huge impact on the number of people visiting the town.
“Getting the dam wall back open is a big key to our plan.”
The WSRA plan has received support from Wollondilly Mayor Ben Banasik, who thinks the town is a “potential goldmine”.
“Getting public access to the dam is absolutely essential to the township. The main thoroughfare of the town is doing it tough at the moment but there are a few shops putting in the hard yards there,” Mr Banasik said.
“There has been a couple of times when they have opened up the dam wall and there has been thousands of people coming up to the dam.”
Other aspects of the WSRA plan involve presenting the town and the dam as a tourist attraction package.
“We would like to conduct some beautification works around Warragamba itself to make the town more attractive but we also need something to help draw the people into the town at the same time,” Mr Gould said.
A Sydney Catchment Authority (SCA) spokeswoman said considerations for greater public access were under way. “Following a public access trial completed last year, the SCA has already committed to opening the Terrace Gardens to the public on weekends and public holidays during spill events,” the spokeswoman said.
“The SCA is currently considering further public access options. The galleries and inside the dam wall will not be included in any permanent access arrangements due to security and operational requirements.”
Mr Gould said the WSRA intended to apply for a Champions of the West grant in the Tourism category as part of the Fair Go For The West campaign.