There have been few topics in Anglesea more closely followed than the Eden Project.
‘What do you think about it? How will it work? Who will pay for it?’ There are plenty of questions on the streets around town.
The Eden Project is a UK-based educational and environmental charity and social enterprise which transformed a clay mine in Cornwall into a top tourist attraction. Together with Alcoa of Australia, they have commenced community consultation to seek feedback on a similar concept for Alcoa’s former mine site in Anglesea.
The concept is dramatic and ambitious. The proposed site has a footprint of 40 ha, of which the built form (a series of pavilions connected by walkways) would occupy less than 10 percent. The former mine site will become ‘a destination for immersive education and experiences which celebrate the local ecology and tell a story of sustainability,’ David Harland, chief executive of Eden’s global wing, Eden Project International Limited (EPIL), said. ‘We’ve envisioned a place of extraordinary experiences, fusing science and wonder to immerse visitors in the extreme elements—fire, air, earth and water—which have shaped the Surf Coast region and its inhabitants for millennia, creating a must-see prelude for a journey on the Great Ocean Road. This concept will be a global exemplar of sustainability and environmental excellence.’
Details are scant; however, initial projections show a world-class ecotourism attraction of this type could support at least 300 full-time jobs and encourage visitors to spend more time in Anglesea. Through all stages of analysis, planning, design and construction, the concept is estimated to cost approximately $150 million. Following achievement of the relevant planning and rezoning approvals, construction could be completed within 18-24 months, according to an Eden Project press release. A waterbody is an essential feature of the concept and the source of water has yet to be determined.
Conservation and education are two of the guiding principles of the Eden Project which makes it a natural fit with Angair. We look forward to more information and consultation as details are released. If the project proceeds, we anticipate that Angair and other environmental organisations and government agencies will be adding value to the educational experience. Your committee will be keeping a close eye on developments and will keep members updated.
To find out more go to: www.edenprojectanglesea.com.au Community feedback is welcomed.