Transport Minister Eric Charlton said today a new tourist route at Denham would be a major boost for the tourism potential of the Shark Bay area.
The Denham ring road - opened today by the Minister - has been named after local resident Stella Rowley who spent many years serving the community.
Stella Rowley Drive links the western end of Knight Terrace on the Denham foreshore to the Monkey Mia Road nearly five kilometres away.
The project was identified in 1994 as one which would help boost tourism opportunities in the town of Denham.
"The Shark Bay Shire Council spoke to me in September, 1994, and I asked Main Roads Western Australia to help select a route that was tourist-oriented and direct traffic through the Denham townsite," Mr Charlton said.
"Apart from giving visitors to the area a unique look at Denham itself, the road provides access to a proposed tourist development site in addition to scenic views of Shark Bay, Useless Loop and Little Lagoon.
"The route has also been carefully designed to incorporate parking facilities and walk trails to allow visitors to leave their vehicles to gain a greater appreciation of this beautiful area."
Mr Charlton said the new route, when combined with the foreshore development project along Knight Terrace, would provide stimulus for tourism growth within the Denham townsite.
The foreshore development, to be undertaken later in the year after infill sewerage works were completed in Knight Terrace, would see the placement of dredge spoil along the foreshore, reticulated grassed areas, a dual use path, road widening, kerbing, parking and roundabouts at the intersections with Stella Rowley Drive and Denham Road.
The road project cost $841,000, shared between Main Roads, the Gascoyne Regional Road Group, and the Shark Bay Shire Council. About $260,000 had also been contributed by the Department of Land Administration through the sale of the proposed tourist development site.
Mr Charlton said it was fitting that the road should be named after Mrs Rowley, who had contributed much to the community during her 40 years in Denham.
"Stella was the area's first female councillor and served from 1971 to 1975," he said.
"She was also a Justice of the Peace and for 20 years served the community as a Silver Chain sister. Her work was recognised in recent years when she was awarded the British Empire Medal."
Media contact: Doug Cunningham 08 9321 7333