Wetlands chief calls it a day

By Benalla Ensign

Winton Wetlands chief executive officer Jim Grant has announced his retirement after five years in the role.

Mr Grant joined Winton Wetlands as CEO in April 2013, and during his tenure he has taken the organisation through a period of successful growth.

Mr Grant will be leaving the project in August to join his wife in Canberra, where she is now employed.

Mr Grant said he felt it was time to support Ann in her career as she had supported him over the years.

‘‘I have given plenty of notice, so that the committee will have the time and capacity to choose the right person for the next phase of the reserve’s development, and because I am keen to complete a number of projects over the next few months,’’ Mr Grant said.

Mr Grant, alongside the committee of management, has worked to deliver the Future Land Use Strategy.

Before Mr Grant’s employment the reserve was closed to the public. During the past five years, roads, walking tracks and bike paths have been constructed and opened, signage installed, and the Hub and Café established.

Effective land management and favourable conditions have allowed wetland vegetation to expand rapidly and ensured the survival of the tens of thousands of trees planted on site, as well as the return of birds and native animals — complemented by growing visitor numbers.

Under Mr Grant’s leadership, Winton Wetlands has increased its viability as an ecotourism destination in the North East.

‘‘I’m very proud of my time and achievements with Winton Wetlands,’’ Mr Grant said.

‘‘It will continue to grow and I thank the committee and the staff for the privilege of working with them.’’

Winton Wetlands Committee of Management chair Dennis O’Brien said everyone at the organisation greatly appreciated the outstanding contribution that Mr Grant had made to the vision and development of the site during his five-year tenure.

‘‘Without Jim’s perspective on how the wetlands could be transformed into a site of cultural, artistic, historical and ecological significance, the project would not be on the trajectory it is on,’’ Dr O’Brien said.

‘‘That is, as a wetland ecological renewal project and unique tourism venue of national significance.

‘‘His contribution will be greatly missed, and his replacement will have big shoes to fill.

‘‘The whole committee was disappointed to hear of Jim’s resignation, but we all wish him well in his future endeavours.’’

The organisation will soon start a thorough external search and recruitment process to find a successor for this role.