SHOW US THE MONEY
THE time has come for a coral research facility to be based in the Whitsundays and a local resident reckons he has the right place for it – Shute Harbour.
Long-time Cannonvale resident Jim Jarvis is at the heart of a plan to develop a living coral display and theatrette.
Shute Harbour, in the midst of being rebuilt, following severe damage caused by Tropical Cyclone Debbie in March 2017, is the prime spot according to Mr Jarvis.
“My desire is to see the inclusion of a facility like this at Shute Harbour that can showcase our Great Barrier Reef and region,” he told the Whitsunday Times.
“The Whitsundays needs to inform tourists that we are actively engaged in the process of developing and researching stronger coral species that are more resilient to the immediate faced threats.
“With climate warming and ocean acidification, all reef systems are at great risk of being severely impacted in the immediate future.
“We need a link the chain with the respected research centres including James Cook University, AIMS, CSIRO, GBRMPA and of course the new player in the game, the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.”
Mr Jarvis said the facility would cost $4 million to build and with a federal election pending in 2019, is calling on both sides of the political divide to examine the merits of the facility.
“I’d love the feds to show us the money,” he said.
“I’ve had some initial discussions with (Member for Dawson) George Christensen and Labor has announced their candidate in Belinda Hassan and I’d look forward to talking to her.
“There is no doubt that $4 million would effectively get the project off the ground and underway.
“It is the old acorn principle, if you plant the acorn then an oak tree will grow over time.”
Mr Jarvis has spoken with engineering experts, including renowned local engineer Gary Goddard, who believe the facility could feature in Stage 1 of the Shute Harbour Post Cyclone Redevelopment.
“Construction cranes and equipment will already be on the ground,” he said.
“We are not requiring a large oceanarium, we want tourists to be out on and under the water as much as possible.
“The facility would include one larger type tank or two or three smaller glass tanks.
“The theatrette could seat up to 50 people and can be of the type used at displays you see in the capital cities, featuring displays of the rich history of the Ngaro people.
“I’m sure Nigel Scullion, the current minister for Indigenous Affairs, would be happy to co-operate with such a project and offer initial financing.”
Mr Goddard, who based in the Whitsundays region for the past 33 years, believes Mr Jarvis’s plan is a good idea.
“Jim came and asked me whether I thought the plan had merit and I believe it does,” he said.
“At the moment I’m engaged in the project putting in the art sculpturesaround the reef and mentioned to Reef Ecologic’s Dr Adam Smith about if they needed an area to cultivate these corals then there was a possibility of this happening at Shute Harbour.
“I think Shute Harbour could incorporate something like this facility long-term and help ensure the rejuvenation of coral.”
With tourist numbers climbing year on year , Mr Jarvis added this facility would serve multiple purposes.
“We are heading towards the 1 million tourists per annum and this figure will grow substantially in the next decade as tourism ventures, and accommodation will be re-opened, and new island resorts are developed,” he said.
SHOW US THE MONEY: Mark Winter, Jim Jarvis and Gale Winter are pushing for a coral research facility to be built at Shute Harbour and are calling on the Federal Government for support.