By Raquel Mustillo
MOTORISTS travelling along the Riddoch Highway will soon be encouraged to take a pause in Penola with construction on the town’s long-awaited entrance markers starting last month.
The multi-material signs, which will be made of limestone, wrought iron grape vines, corten steel and red gum, will be located at both ends of the Penola bypass and encourage visitors to the town.
Fabrication work has started and council expects to break ground at Penola’s northern and southern entrances next week.
A stone wall will be the 5m base of the 4.5m high structure and will serve as a seat for tourists to sit on for photos – a suggestion made by community members at a public meeting.
A reclaimed red gum post will hold changeable banners to advertise events throughout the year, including the Coonawarra Cup, the Mary MacKillop Feast Day in August and October’s Cabernet Weekend.
The former Penola District Business and Tourism Association – now known as the Riddoch Business and Community Association – commissioned a Penola entrance concept design in September 2015 and engaged Mount Gambier firm Tonkin Consulting to supply structural design drawings for the concept proposal.
Wattle Range Council took control of the project last year, using the original concept design with the scope of the project changing to two entrance signs at the northern and southern entrances of the township.
The project has been funded by a $55,000 council contribution, with the community association contributing $10,000 towards the signage.
A further $100,000 will be spent on landscaping works at the start of both sides of the bypass.
Riddoch Business and Community Association president Rebecca Trotter said the group was please to see the entrance statements proceeding in coming days.
“Along with the planned landscaping, Penola’s entrances from the bypass will look fantastic,” she said.
“[It will be] very encouraging for visitors to stop in and visit, grab a coffee, some lunch and browse our fantastic stores.”
Council anticipates the project will be finished in May 2021.