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Redevelopment of tourist attraction a boon

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

The community will see the vision to breathe new life into Bunbury's waterfront start becoming reality when forward works on the redevelopment of the Dolphin Discovery Centre get underway next month.

From early February, local firm Perkins Builders will begin undertaking a long-list of activities ranging from relocation of the research building, to construction of a new boat shed, and installation of new sea water tanks.

The project is part of the wider Transforming Bunbury's Waterfront project, which aims to stimulate long-term economic and community benefits for the city and its residents.

DDC general manager David Kerr said he was pleased locals would benefit from Perkins winning the contract to deliver the first stage of the centre's redevelopment, with Bunbury-based practice MCG Architects having already undertaken the design aspects of the project.

"As an organisation, we're very much engaged with the community and supported by the community. So, it's terrific that a local company could successfully tender," Mr Kerr said.

"It creates local jobs and supports the broader economic environment of the city."

Perkins Builders managing director Dan Perkins visited the centre on Wednesday January 25 to meet with Mr Kerr.

"As a Bunbury based builder with a history of nearly 52 years in the region, it is pleasing to be involved in such an iconic local tourism project," Mr Perkins said.

"We look forward to working with the Dolphin Discovery Centre team to deliver the first stage."

Forward works are expected to be completed by May 31, and a tender for the main works will be advertised in April.

Overall, the redevelopment of the DDC is expected to support about 117 full time jobs during construction and provide 29 ongoing full-time jobs.

The upgrade and expansion of the DDC forms part of stage one of the Transforming Bunbury's Waterfront, which also includes the revitalisation of the Koombana Bay foreshore.

The Transforming Bunbury's Waterfront project is overseen by a steering committee coordinated by the South West Development Commission.

SWDC acting chief executive officer Anna Oades said it was exciting to see the waterfront makeover take shape after many years of planning by the steering committee and community.

"The start of forward works at the Dolphin Discovery Centre will mark a significant milestone in the plan to breathe new life into Bunbury's waterfront, with the view to creating a more vibrant precinct that both locals and visitors can enjoy," Ms Oades said.

"The centre already records up to 115,000 visitations a year - more than 50 per cent of whom are international visitors.Turning it into a world-class attraction will further put Bunbury on the map and bring more visitors into the city."

The State Government has allocated a total of $24.9 million from the Royalties for Regions Growing Our South initiative towards stage one of the Transforming Bunbury's Waterfront initiative, which also includes the City of Bunbury-managed Koombana Bay landscaping project. The City of Bunbury and Lotterywest are also contributing funds to stage one.


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