Holidaymakers are flocking to Dumaresq Dam for a cool dip, a picnic or a barbecue during the Christmas break.
With big plans for the dam on the horizon, The Express dropped in to see what people think of the changes coming in 2017.
Locals Sandy and Lydia Austin-Miner are regular visitors to the dam.
They said the fact that the dam had not been developed was it’s most attractive feature.
“It’s got nice bird life, you can take a nice walk or a swim,” Ms Austin-Miner said.
“It’s beautiful because it’s simple.”
Armidale resident Lachlan Cullen agrees.
“Where else can you come to a place like this and swim like this for free?” he said.
“It would be a real shame to see it commercialised.”
Armidale Regional Council endorsed their dam redevelopment master plan at the final council meeting of the year.
The plan will see campers return to the dam but also includes a number of major infrastructure projects.
Holiday cabins, a solar powered jetty cafe, and water-based activity hire are all in the pipeline.
Walking tracks, mountain bike trails, and barbecue facilities will also be developed.
Adrian Makepeace of Canberra grew up in Armidale and said it was about time the Council did something with the place.
“They should have done it years ago,” he said.
Mr Makepeace said his father Barry started the local sailing club at the dam in 1970.
“Back then there wasn’t much here,” he said.
“And once the sailing club stopped coming here, the place really died.
“As long as it’s done properly, I think it's a great idea.
“Just as long as they keep the place clean - I’d hate to see any pollution out here.”
Matt Rowbottom of Uralla and his extended family make the trip out the dam every summer.
They think the changes to the area are a positive move.
“I think it's great,” Mr Rowbottom said.
The decision to expand the recreational side of the park also firms Council’s commitment to upgrading the Dam wall.
The Dumaresq Dam wall was identified as one of the highest priority dams in NSW in need of an upgrade.
The development will bring the wall up to ANCOLD standards
Tenders the wall project will be filled by July 2017.
And construction is expected to be completed in the following financial year.
Council received only six submissions on the master plan during the 42-day public exhibition period, mostly in favor of the project.
A council report says the key focus of the park is to offer non-structured activities that support and enhance tourism and economic growth in the area.
A new $138,000 toilet block will be the first priority followed by improvements to road access and parking.
Council currently has $340,000 allocated to the recreational area and about $3 million allocated for the wall upgrade.
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