Work starts with a bang
Not content with a traditional turning of the sod, the Shire of Exmouth used explosives and coloured sand to mark the beginning of construction at the $32m Ningaloo Centre.
The centre will house the UWA Oceans Institute, the Durack Centre of Technology and facilities such as a library and an interpretive centre.
Shire of Exmouth president Turk Shales said the centre had been a 15-year dream.
“While there have been challenges along the way, the potential of this building to help shape the future of our town makes every step of the process worthwhile,” he said.
“The economic value of building this centre will be enormous for our community, with indicative figures projecting the local content of the building to be just over 28 per cent, which represents an injection of $6.4 million into local businesses and jobs.
“Its flexible configuration will ensure the facility can cater for cultural events like music and drama performances, as well as temporary art and museum exhibitions.”
Mr Shales said construction of the centre was the start of a journey towards a more resilient and sustainable community.
Minister for Regional Development Terry Redman holstered his shovel to do the honours of setting off the explosion.
“I don’t think I have ever pushed a button to set off some dynamite before so that was pretty exciting,” he said.
“I think the research facility will have Statewide significance, probably even beyond that.
“The other part, which is probably less recognised, but by freeing up commercial space in town, by having people move to the Ningaloo Centre, it is also an asset in the broader development of Exmouth.”
North West Central MLA Vince Catania said having the UWA move into the centre would help attract and retain people in town.
Mr Catania said researchers working at the facility would be spoilt, having the “best science project in the world”, the Ningaloo Reef, on their doorstep.
A traditional sod turning was held after the explosion.
The Ningaloo Centre sod exploding marks the start of construction of the Ningaloo Centre.