Busselton council expected to approve jetty sculpture project

Recent community consultation has shown 70 per cent support for the Australian Underwater Discovery Centre design to resemble a giant whale in abstract form. Image supplied
Recent community consultation has shown 70 per cent support for the Australian Underwater Discovery Centre design to resemble a giant whale in abstract form. Image supplied

The Busselton Jetty Inc is hopeful the first stages of its Underwater Sculpture Project will be on show for visitors next summer.

City of Busselton council are expected to approve the project at its next ordinary meeting on Wednesday April 14.

Busselton Jetty Inc received a permit in November 2020 from the Commonwealth department of environment for the placement of the SS Pericles Replica as well as 12 sculptural models offshore.

Busselton Jetty Inc chief executive officer Lisa Shreeve said the project was part of the overall construction of the Australian Underwater Discovery Centre to add new artistic artificial reef which would create more marine life on the sculptures.

"We hope to have some sculptures in next summer now and some the following summer to line up with the Australian Underwater Discovery Centre opening in December 2022," she said.

The Busselton Jetty Undersea Sculptures Project has been developed as a result of feedback over a period of time from a number of visitors to the Busselton Jetty.

The project outlines reef structures and artistic elements at the end of the jetty would enhance marine life and visitor experience from the underwater observatory the planned discovery centre, and snorkelling and diving activities.

The project proposes to deploy 13 objects made from reinforced concrete and unpainted steel and will be placed on the seabed beneath sections seven, nine and ten along the Busselton Jetty.

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City of Busselton officers have set conditions for the licence agreement which include a specific lincence area, structural integrity, a term of 13 years, public access and lincensee to undertake the sea dumping works.

If council approve the project Busselton Jetty Inc will still need to submit a development application for for the SS Pericles Replica deployment which will be assessed by officers as delegated by council.

City officers said in the council agenda that the project would be mutually beneficial for the Jetty and the city.

It shows how it would increase visitation to the jetty as well have environmental benefits.

The Australian Underwater Discovery Centre proposal went out for public comment in December 2020 which provided three different designs for people to choose from, with a giant whale being the most popular.

WA Labor made an election commitment in January which would provide $9.5 million towards the $30 million project.

The federal government has also committed $13 million to the construction of the centre.