ReTurning the Waterwheel
How UYCE led the reanimation of a town’s centerpiece
When the Waterwheel complex was put out for tender a few years ago, it faced an uncertain future. A team of local people, led by Upper Yarra Community Enterprise (UYCE), facilitated a vision that returned this iconic landmark to the community, so it could be used to everyone’s advantage.
Now a vibrant hub for locals and tourists alike the Waterwheel complex consists of Visitor Information Services, Warburton Handmade, the Artisans Gallery and the Environmental Discovery Centre. Volunteers are the heart and soul of centre.
‘For a town that needs tourism as part of its economic prosperity, the thought that we might not have a tourist information centre was not an option,’ says Geoff Vickers, who is part of the managing group. ‘UYCE is not a tourism business but we are in the business of helping our community prosper and we developed a plan to take over the lease and return the Waterwheel complex to full operation as a community service.’
The Waterwheel aims to be self-sustaining and is an excellent example of how people can get together and create progress in their own towns. ‘The corner stone of community banking is successful customers make a successful bank, but only in that order,’ says Geoff. The Community Bank® model is at the heart of the Waterwheel’s success.