• Loddon Herald

Put it in writing

CALLS have been made this week for Bendigo-based Aboriginal corpor-ation Djaara to put its Catto Lodge commitment in writing.

Djaara last Friday released plans for development of Melville Caves and Kooyoora State Park.

But local residents and members of the Catto family are disappointed plans do not mention incorporating the popular 1950s picnic lodge into works the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation say will “reinvigorate Kooyoora State Park to showcase and share their living culture with the community”.

“We had a verbal commitment back in late January from corporation CEO Rodney Carter that the lodge would be retained,” said Glenn Catto.

“But it’s not in writing ... there are a lot of people who would be terribly upset if it is pulled down. We have no problems with what they are going to do, but not pulling down Catto Lodge.”

Matt Catto said yesterday he had spoken with the the development project manager who said Catto Lodge was part of plans.

“It would be good to have this in writing and clear things up once and for all,” he said.

More than 2000 people signed a petition to retain the lodge before talks between community and Djaara gained a verbal under-taking that it would stay.

Loddon Shire Council has been seeking a meeting with Djaara, the corporate brand recently announced for the corporation, since April. Council said it “has not yet had the opportunity to discuss with (Djaara) their plans for Kooyoora Park developments”.

Member for Ripon Louise Staley said: “I have met with the Dja Dja Wurrung about the proposed changes to Kooyoora State Park.

“Many of these proposals will create both a much better visitor experience and respect the cultural heritage of the traditional owners, and I support them.

“Catto Lodge has significant cultural value to the broader community, and I have been assured it will be retained,” she said.

Kooyoora Park is managed by Djaara and the State Government, through Parks Victoria.

The corporation was contacted for comment and confirmation on the future of Catto Lodge.

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