A Hervey Bay Marine Experience and Research Centre based at the Urangan Harbour could be financially viable, create jobs, boost tourism and stimulate the redevelopment of the marina precinct.
That’s the finding of a report by infrastructure consulting firm AECOM that was presented to the Fraser Coast Regional Council at its September meeting today (Wednesday, 22 September).
Mayor George Seymour said the report was funded by the Queensland Government and considered what the centre should look like, what it should contain and whether it would be viable.
“The report indicates the project would cost $50 million, have an annual revenue of $1.7 million as well as generating substantial regional revenue through encouraging visitors to stay longer,” he said.
“Now that we know the project is financially viable, we can go to the next step and take the report to the Queensland and Australian Governments to seek their support and financial backing.
“Council would be aiming to secure more than $35 million in grants to advance the project.
Cr Zane O’Keefe was buoyed by the financial and economic data in the report.
“The centre would be a central point for the region’s marine experiences, connecting K’gari (Fraser Island), Butchulla history and culture, whale heritage, the two UNESCO Biosphere’s and the region’s other unique natural assets,” he said.
“The world-leading concept design (a diving whale pod) would give us an opportunity to own the world-heritage and marine tourism experience, confirm our place as Australia’s premier whale watching destination and deliver an all-seasons world-class tourism attraction.
“Additionally, as Hervey Bay is the first whale heritage site in the world, there is a potential that private businesses would also like to invest in the facility.
“The project would be transformational, especially for the harbour, and ensure that the region can deliver world-class tourism experiences to high value travellers.
“This project, coupled with plans by the Boat Club to build a $60 million, 144-room four-star hotel at the harbour could be the catalysts needed to activate investment in the Urangan Harbour Precinct.”
Article & photo submitted by Fraser Coast Regional Council