Kangaroo Island emerges from the ashes

Work has begun on a new $16 million visitor centre in the Flinders Chase National Park on Kangaroo Island with the development important to its recovery from the 2020 bushfires.

The old centre was destroyed in the fires which ravaged the western half of the island, burning across more than 200,000 hectares including much of Flinders Chase.

Its replacement will help sustain the local tourism industry which contributes about $140 million annually to the regional economy.

It will also include research facilities, thanks to a $2 million contribution from the University of Adelaide.

The new building will generate and store its own solar power, with the ability to charge electric vehicles.

Walkways and shelters will help collect rainwater and wetlands will help filter waste and stormwater.

The centre’s architecture will be mainly concrete free, and framed from sustainably sourced bushfire-resistant Australian timbers.

Rammed earth walls will be built from material on and adjacent to the site and gravel will be sourced from existing nearby pits.

The work is expected to be completed by 2024.

“This ecologically sustainable building will power itself for most of the year and be entirely self-sufficient in terms of water use and recycled wastewater,” Environment Minister Susan Close said.

“The building will set a new national standard for ecologically sustainable development, with minimal impact to the environment both during the build and once complete.”

Local MP Leon Bignell said rebuilding the centre was an important part of the bushfire recovery process on the Island and would help the local tourism bounce back.

 

Tim Dornin
(Australian Associated Press)

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