Seachange Expo to highlight benefits of rural coastal life

Could you see yourself here is the question that the Seachange Expo will pose to anyone wanting to make a seachange to the local area.
Could you see yourself here is the question that the Seachange Expo will pose to anyone wanting to make a seachange to the local area.

Expressions of interest are already coming in for Merimbula's Seachange Expo which is planned to take place in April next year.

Riding on the back of the COVID-19 pandemic which has shown how people can work from home, president of the Merimbula Chamber of Commerce Nigel Ayling said the event would target people looking to relocate to regional areas to live.

The pandemic has normalised remote working which in turn means that some desk-bound jobs could be carried out from anywhere. With regional house prices considerably lower than those in the city and the lifestyle attractions of the coast, Mr Ayling believes that people could be tempted to move to the area.

People move to the coast for all sorts of reasons, some want a change of location, but for most it's about the lifestyle and that's where we have got it in spades.

Nigel Ayling president of the Merimbula Chamber of Commerce

The plan is to run the expo over two days with the first day like a trade show. Mr Ayling said he would hope to see education providers such as University of Wollongong, employment groups, health care, sporting groups, volunteer organisations, service providers, real estate, housing and government bodies involved to show what the area has to offer.

"It will be a one stop shop for information for people looking to move to the area where they can make contact with real people and businesses. It will also highlight some of the local businesses, restaurants and providores that feature in our area," Mr Ayling said.

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The second day would be an opportunity for visitors to experience the area through tours, walking groups, events run by sporting clubs, tasting local seafood and craft beers. "It will be a real showcase of our local area."

The expo will be funded by a $20,000 federal government grant and Mr Ayling is currently looking at making it a hybrid event so that those unable to get to Merimbula would be able to see live stream content with talks and discussion.

"It will open us to a much wider audience," he said.

Mr Ayling is a seachanger having moved here from Sydney with a young family 16 years ago.

"People move to the coast for all sorts of reasons, some want a change of location, but for most it's about the lifestyle and that's where we have got it in spades. No traffic, no pollution, affordable housing and the magnificent coastal lifestyle," he said.

The chamber is now fielding EOIs from organisations and companies that want to get involved. For more details visit the website www.ourmerimbula.com.au/sea-change-expo

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