Stawell's doors are open

Northern Grampians Shire Mayor, Cr Kevin Erwin, is confident council's participation in this weekend's Regional Victoria Living Expo will yield significant dividends for Stawell in particular.

Council staff will be in attendance at the expo, at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, handing out information on what Stawell and the Northern Grampians Shire has to offer.

Cr Erwin said it was a great opportunity for the region to showcase its attractions to tens of thousands of visitors from Melbourne and beyond.

"The expo is a fantastic opportunity for Melbourne based people to learn about country areas," he said.

"We will be providing information on employment opportunities, schools and facilities available, all the things families need to know when considering relocating from the city to the country."

Cr Erwin said access to various pamphlets, copies of the Stawell Times News/Ararat Advertiser and other vital information would be available to all visitors at the expo.

"We know that tens of thousands of people go through the expo this weekend, which is very exciting," he said.

"About 3000 people alone specifically visited the Northern Grampians Shire's stall last year and gathered information on the region.

"We have no doubt in our minds that this will eventually result in a number of residents wishing to make a tree change to the country.

"The expo is just a great opportunity to get in the ear of people who may be considering relocating from the city. It might just be enough to give them that urge to make the move."

Cr Erwin described the Regional Living Expo as a great selling point for the Northern Grampians.

"When looking to make a move, people look at schools, hospitals, child care facilities and job opportunities, which are all critical in making their decision," he said.

"There needs to be job opportunities for both the husband and wife, that is another critical area and if we can relay that information to them that our doors are open, the employment opportunities are here and all our facilities are up with the best, it is a great opportunity for us to attract more residents to Stawell and other parts of our shire."

Stawell business owner, Llewellyn Clark from Clark's Furniture Freight Management, said he had noticed a definite trend in more people relocating to Stawell as opposed to leaving the area.

"The figures I have obtained through the removals side of the business, shows that for every one person we move out of Stawell, we move 2.3 people in," Mr Clark said.

"This is fantastic news for Stawell and shows that we do have a lot to offer.

"I think with a lot of people, it's about needing to turn their minds around, urging them to realise that it's not all doom and gloom in Stawell.

"A lot of people think this will be the case when the mine closes, but we need have plenty to offer and we need to get people to focus on the positives more."

Mr Clark said the reasons his clients were offering for relocating to Stawell were many and varied.

He said many found the medical facilities, Nursing Home and Eventide Homes to be major drawcards, along with job opportunities, particularly at Frewstal.

"We are also finding that a lot of mining families who had moved away from the area are now coming back to Stawell," he said.

"They are still working in the mining industry, but doing fly in, fly out. It seems the cheaper cost of living here in Stawell allows them to afford the fuel to get to Tullamarine and board a plane for the fly in, fly out work.

"We are also finding that a number of new residents are retiring from Melbourne to Stawell. They sell their house in Melbourne, buy a good quality home in Stawell and they have enough left over for investment properties as well.

"A lot of wealthy people are coming to settle in Stawell and that is great for the town."

Mr Clark said the affordable housing the lifestyle change were other popular reasons he heard from his clients for relocating to Stawell.

"We've even moved people up here who have bought businesses and people who visited the mountains and lakes when they were young over Christmas and school holidays, now have a family of their own and have decided to make the change for a better lifestyle," he said.

"We get comments all the time about people loving the Grampians, not finding a better backdrop anywhere and the magnificent views from Main Street looking out towards the mountains.

"People tell us all the time that the townspeople are friendly and that you can get everything you need in Stawell.

"I think that is a really positive message to be getting across to people considering relocating to Stawell."

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