A giant whale, sea rocks and a nautical theme are three new building designs that the WA public is being asked to choose a favourite for construction at the Busselton Jetty.
The jetty is building a new larger underwater observatory, 1.8 kilometres out to sea because the current 17 year old observatory is too small to handle tourist numbers.
Busselton Jetty believes a new $30 million underwater observatory will bring tourists back post COVID-19 and become WA's next icon.
The Australian Underwater Discovery Centre (AUDC) will be the largest in the world and feature underwater dining and an underwater train.
Community consultation sessions start December 21, 2020 in person in Busselton at 1.30pm or 5.30pm with presentations by Busselton Jetty Inc and WA designers Subcon Blue Solutions, who also built the underwater restaurant in Norway.
It is hoped that construction will start mid 2020 and the AUDC will be open by December 2022, with more than 200,000 new visitors in 2023, and more than 900,000 visitors to the jetty per year.
Busselton Jetty chair Barry House said the AUDC was a game changer for tourism and would be the world's largest natural marine observatory.
"This is as authentic as it gets because people are in the tank and the fish are looking in," he said.
"By adding underwater dining, underwater sculptures, marine art and other features, this project will enhance the Busselton Jetty 155-year-old experience."
Mr House said during peak times, people are turned away from the current observatory because it could only fit 44 people in each hour.
"In 2017 we started looking at how to meet visitor demand and after two feasibility studies and market research, determined that expanding our current unique marine offering was the best way to grow and meet our environmental goals," he said.
"Construction alone will create nearly 200 jobs and once operational thousands of jobs will be created over coming years as cafes, hotels, service stations, retail stores, bus companies, trade agents all prosper, returning some $200 million in economic benefit to WA.
"This is an exciting stage of the project to get the feedback on the most attractive design that will be a catalyst to drawing people to WA from all over the world, especially those who love the ocean.
"It is also important to attracting people to the South West with direct flights from Melbourne to Busselton starting on February 1 next year."
Jetty chief executive Lisa Shreeve said the current underwater observatory would become a marine research centre promoting clean oceans and feature public interaction with world class researchers and a laboratory to educate people about oceanic climate change.
"From 12,000 visitor surveys in five years, people would like to see more interaction with the marine environment and extra food and beverage options at the end of the jetty," she said.
To register to attend the public session or the online session visit tix.yt/audc-presentation-dec-2020