New dinosaur park expected to revive CQ’s tourism industry
A HERD of dinosaurs will soon rumble towards Central Queensland to revive the region’s ailing tourism industry, which has struggled due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This week, Capricorn Coast’s Cooberrie park Wildlife Sanctuary received confirmation from the Queensland Government it would receive almost $800,000 to push ahead with its ambitious plan to build a Capricorn Dinosaur Park.
Three years in development and estimated to cost $1 million, the extension to the wildlife sanctuary would feature 35 life-size dinosaur replicas, a dinosaur dig, dinosaur walk, dinosaur mini-golf and additional infrastructure.
Construction on the job-creating project was expected to start soon, it would last 10 months with a goal of being complete in time for the 2021 Winter school holidays.
The project would be a massive windfall for the local tourism industry with Tourism Minister Kate Jones predicting it would pump an extra $2.3 million per year into the local economy and boost visitor numbers by 20,000.
“Cooberrie Park have dreamt of a Jurassic Park experience for many years. Today’s funding will get this project off the drawing board and will allow construction to start almost immediately,” Ms Jones said.
In a statement on social media, Cooberrie Park Wildlife Sanctuary’s ranger Kieron Smedley paid credit to Capricorn Enterprise, the Queensland Government and those working behind the scenes to make this project possible.
“This project has been three years in the making and will be an awesome unique Dinosaur experience,” Mr Smedley said.
“Mary Carroll, CEO of Capricorn Enterprise, has powered this project along, working tirelessly behind the scenes to bring this project to fruition.
“Thank you to the Queensland Government for making this tourism funding available through the Growing Tourism Infrastructure fund.”
Member for Keppel and Assistant Education Minister Brittany Lauga said the government’s commitment of $796,398 towards the project was part of its economic recovery package for the tourism industry.
Ms Lauga said the government’s partnership with Cooberrie Park Wildlife Sanctuary would create a world-class dinosaur attraction to immerse visitors in a Jurassic experience.
“It’s important to invest in new products now so when our economy has recovered we have new attractions that will draw thousands of tourists back to the region and pump millions of dollars into our local economy,” Ms Lauga said.
“Tourism is vital to our plan for economic recovery in Keppel. This project won’t just boost our local tourism industry, it will also create construction jobs in coming months.”
Ms Lauga said Cooberrie Park had already made its name as a native animal sanctuary, but this new venture would add a new dimension for visitors allowing them to wander along a 3km Dinosaur Walk, observe 35 life-size dinosaur replicas, interact in the Dinosaur Dig, engage in Dinosaur Mini-golf and enjoy picnic and playground areas.
She said the full project would also provide a carpark extension, new entry and kiosk building and an 11-seater electric shuttle for those with limited mobility.
Tourism Minister Kate Jones expected it to be a very competitive market place once restrictions were lifted.
“We’re investing in new tourism infrastructure to give Keppel an advantage when more tourists are able to travel,” Ms Jones said.
“With this project, the government is making a down payment for the future. This fund is delivering crucial funding to make shovel-ready projects a reality.
“New tourism infrastructure is a vital part of the Palaszczuk Government’s plan for economic recovery because we know how important new attractions will be when it comes to rebuilding our tourism industry.”