Little Desert Lodge community ownership
A new social enterprise ‘Little Desert Lodge Community’ has been formed to support the continuation of the facility and services at the Little Desert Nature Lodge. Its members believe the Lodge is a significant cultural, environmental and tourism asset to the region, and are exploring options in an attempt to transition its ownership to the Wimmera community.
Conservation Volunteers Australia, who currently own the 120 hectare property 14 kilometres from Nhill, recently announced their plans to divest the prominent local attraction and are anticipating closure of the business towards the end of 2018.
The Little Desert Lodge has been in operation since the mid 1970’s and provides accommodation for up to 120 guests with multiple indoor and outdoor common areas for educational programs, conferences and functions. The unique facility allows visitors the opportunity to experience the desert environment and the many varieties of local flora and fauna that populate the region and caters for national and international visitors.
A business case is being developed by the social enterprise to ensure the Lodge can sustain its operations for years to come and to upgrade the facility to meet the growing demand from the eco-tourism and education sector. The plan identifies the critical importance of supporting the continuation of the ‘Rewilding the Desert’ initiative and partnering with the Wotjobaluk community to develop traditional land management practices and cultural programs.
At the inaugural meeting of the ‘Little Desert Lodge Community’, the group determined that an initial investment of $300,000 over the next three years is required to upgrade ageing infrastructure to meet current expectations. The social enterprise will now work towards securing in-kind and financial support to develop this plan further with the view to making an offer to the current owners in the near future.