The Collie community will have the opportunity to provide input into the Lake Kepwari project as part of a community consultation workshop to be opened by South-West Minister Mark McGowan today.
Mr McGowan said Lake Kepwari presented a unique recreational and tourism opportunity for the region.
“The project will help create significant job opportunities in new and existing businesses and is consistent with the Government’s policy of helping to diversify the economic base of Collie,” he said.
“Ultimately, the facility will have significant long-term tourism, social and economic benefits.”
The Minister said the State Government had provided $500,000 towards basic infrastructure and services as part of the project, which would be progressed as a joint private - public development.
Collie-Wellington MLA Mick Murray said the community consultation workshop would provide interested community members with an opportunity to have their say.
“The lake has been identified as a great location for water-skiing and water-based activities,” Mr Murray said.
“Interest has already been expressed by local developers wishing to establish accommodation and facilities.
“It is a fantastic opportunity for the region and I look forward to hearing the outcomes from today’s workshop.”
Lake Kepwari, the former open cut coal mine, has undergone extensive rehabilitation by Wesfarmers Premier Coal, which has advised the South West Development Commission (SWDC) of their intention to hand back the void as a valuable community asset.
Contour work has been completed to provide a safe beach and the void has now filled with water. A water-testing program is currently under way and planning is well advanced to ensure the site is developed in a sustainable manner.
Mr McGowan said the State Government would work in partnership with the local community and business, to bring valuable local knowledge and expertise to the project.
“The State Government, via the SWDC, will continue to work in partnership with the Collie Shire Council, business, and the local community to ensure a sustainable future for Collie,” he said.
“Collie has enormous potential, and could be seen as a benchmark for how inland towns can diversify their economies and achieve population growth.”
Given all the necessary land, environmental, health and safety approvals, the Lake Kepwari Working Group is striving to open the lake to the public on December 1, 2006.
Minister's Office - 9222 9111