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Flinders Chase National Park visitor centre to be rebuilt following 2020 bushfire devastation
With the Flinders Chase National Park visitor centre having been completely destroyed during the devastating bushfires in 2020, the South Australian Government is committing $10 million to rebuilding the centre at a new site after significant community consultation.
The South Australian Government is purchasing land which was the former Kangaroo Island Wilderness Retreat.
South Australian Minister for Environment and Water David Speirs said the new $10 million Western Visitor Hub was an exciting development for Kangaroo Island, following the devastating bushfires and the ongoing impacts of COVID-19
A recommendation from the Reimagine KI community engagement process proposed the opportunity for a visitor centre location at the entrance to the park and this new location aligns with this vision.
The $10 million rebuild will create a new precinct, which will result in a world-class, easily accessible facility that enhances the visitor experience on Kangaroo Island’s western end.
The rebuild is part of the State Government’s $52 million investment in rebuilding essential parks infrastructure to support and rejuvenate Kangaroo Island’s visitor economy.
Following the Reimagine KI engagement process, two community framework documents have also been released, that summarise the community vision, guiding principles, opportunities and ideas for future-focused, quality visitor experiences within Kangaroo Island parks.
Minister Speirs notes “Kangaroo Island tourism industry contributes around $140 million annually to the regional economy, and the rebuild works will create more than 350 jobs in the region and will fast-track important works to iconic sites.
“The rejuvenation of the tourism industry and rebuilding of key visitor infrastructure is essential for the economic, social, and environmental recovery of the island and its community.
“The new hub will allow us to create a world-class visitor experience for these western Kangaroo Island parks, which includes eight parks such as Flinders Chase National Park, Kelly Hill Conservation Park, the Ravine des Casoars Wilderness Protection Area and Cape Bouguer Wilderness Protection Area.
“The location of the hub supports a conservation-first approach to visitor experiences and interactions with parks.
“The hub will provide visitor orientation and information about the island’s landscape and history and education on conservation, offering an authentic, interactive and immersive experience for visitors.
Minister Speirs added “the hub will also provide the opportunity for potential co-location with universities, conservation or research partners, as well as providing a multifunctional event space and a focus on locally made produce for sale.
“I’d like to thank the many people who participated in this consultation and the Community Reference Groups for their valuable contribution to reimagining visitor experiences in Kangaroo Island parks.”
The Western Visitor Hub has been prioritised for delivery, with construction set to start from the end of this year.
The rest of the recommendations from the community reference documents, along with ecological considerations and feasibility studies, will help inform future upgrades in parks.
A tender for the design and construction of the world-class visitor hub will be released in June.
For further updates visit engagementhub.parks.sa.gov.au/
Image: The burned out remains of the visitor information centre in the Flinders Chase National Park. The building was destroyed on 3rd January 2020. Courtesy SA National Parks and Wildlife Service
1st April 2020 - Signs of recovery for Kangaroo Island wildlife
30th November 2020 - New tour experience showcases Kangaroo Island Wilderness trail recovery
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