The Gallop Government’s $20million Rottnest makeover is taking shape with a new lighthouse tour opening to the public and a number of new initiatives and works under way for the island.
Visiting the island today, Tourism Minister Mark McGowan said the island had been significantly revamped over the winter period, with more than 15,000sq.m of asbestos roofing removed, 52 units in Geordie refurbished, a number of businesses renovated and essential refurbishments to staff housing carried out.
Mr McGowan said the State Government would undertake a press advertising campaign to encourage more Western Australians to visit the island and see for themselves the changes that had taken place.
“Research undertaken by TNS Market Research in July 2004 has revealed that 28 per cent of Western Australians have never visited the island,” he said.
“We want to change that and this new marketing campaign - Make a day of it on Rottnest Island - aims to attract more people to the island over the summer period.”
The Minister said the State Government spent $3.9million in 2004-05 and would spend $4.9million in 2005-06 on refurbishments to the island following the taskforce report in April, 2004. Half of the 101 recommendations endorsed by Cabinet have been completed, with a further 22 in progress and 18 under review.
“Over the winter period, 52 units in Geordie Bay were completely refurbished at a cost of $3.8million,” Mr McGowan said.
“The newly refurbished units now feature new mattresses that can be zipped together to form a double, new blankets, microwaves, flyscreens, polished cork floors and other furnishings such as curtains and sofas.
“They also have new corrugated iron roofs to replace the asbestos roofing that was there previously.”
The Minister said the works had seen a number of businesses close over the traditionally slower winter period, either to protect the safety of staff or to complete renovations.
“Unfortunately some visitors were inconvenienced by those closures,” he said.
“While it is inevitable that some businesses will have to close again next winter to allow works to take place, I have asked the authority to space the timing of the works to ensure the maximum number of businesses are open at any one time.”
Mr McGowan said a number of new initiatives were planned for the island over the coming months, including a new coastal walk trail and a Wellness Centre.
“The Wadjemup Walk Trail will be constructed in stages over the next two to three years to create a round-island walking experience for visitors,” he said.
“The stages will be linked to the Bayseeker Bus Service, which will be able to pick-up and drop-off passengers at various stages along the way.
“One section of the walk trail will be guided each day for groups wanting an interpreted experience, with the remaining sections available for self-guided tours.
“The first stage is to link the existing Bickley Walk Trail to walks across sandy beaches and headlands.”
Tenders have also been accepted for the development of a wellness centre off the shopping mall. The centre will provide hairdressing, naturopathy, iridology, aromatherapy, reflexology, and beautician and massage services to visitors.
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