Bunbury transformation project marks milestone

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times

Progress on Bunbury’s biggest development project has marked five years since the multi-million dollar plans were put on the table.

As the final part of stage one of the Transforming Bunbury’s Waterfront project gets under way with the Dolphin Discovery Centre redevelopment and stage two is expected to start in the coming months, those at the forefront of work have praised the project’s masterminds.

The Bunbury Marine Facilities Alliance revealed the then $30 million proposal in February 2013, but Bunbury MLA Don Punch said the idea dated back to the 1980s.

Mr Punch said it was “satisfying” to see the transformation under way.

“It is the result of an awful lot of hard work by a lot of people that dates back over many years,” Mr Punch said.

“The works at Koombana that are now being enjoyed by the community are just the start.

“Realising the waterfront project has been a true team effort between Government and the community.”

A Bunbury Marine Facilities Alliance spokeswoman said the project was a credit to many community members and organisations, but the job was “not over yet”.

“Five years ago the Bunbury Marine Facilities Alliance, with a united voice of 24 boating clubs and organisations, launched the ultimate plan for marine facilities for the city and set out to get the State Government on board,” the spokeswoman said.

“Five years on, we look back at how far we've come, from promoting the plan and lobbying ministers, to working alongside the Government on the Transforming Bunbury's Waterfront Steering Committee to take the plan forward.

“It’s been five years of challenges and hard work, but stage one and two of the project is funded and under way.

“The game-changer for Bunbury will be the third stage of marinas at Casuarina Harbour and Koombana Bay which will create economic and tourist benefits and trigger demand for a new commercial marine industry, creating jobs.”

“The Alliance's priority now is to continue to represent our members' views and work alongside the new State Government and Bunbury MLA Don Punch to secure the business case and funding for stage three.”

Mr Punch said the alliance had to be acknowledged for helping convince the Government.

“The Bunbury Marine Facilities Alliance played an important role in bringing together marine stakeholders – both recreational and industry based – and the work of David Doherty, Stuart Thompson and David Kerr to secure agreement amongst those stakeholders and convince the then government of the importance of this project to Bunbury must be acknowledged,” he said.

“The green light for the project was achieved in difficult times with the project needing to compete with all other infrastructure projects proposed for the southern half of WA when the majority of Royalties for Regions money was heading north.

“It succeeded because we had a strong business case that reflected the commitment of the community to the project.

“The number of people who have contributed to realising this project over the past four decades are too numerous to count but all should be proud of the role they have played.”

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