AMBITION: A push is on to incorporate a coral research educational facility at the newly refurbished Shute Harbour.
AMBITION: A push is on to incorporate a coral research educational facility at the newly refurbished Shute Harbour. Joanne Vlismas

Coral research educational facility plans gaining traction

PLANS to incorporate a coral research educational facility into the Shute Harbour redevelopment are generating momentum.

Local residents gave resounding support to the plan via the Whitsunday Regional Council's weblink Have Your Say Whitsundays.

As previously reported in the Whitsunday Times, a concept plan for the coral research facility was laid out by Cannonvale resident Jim Jarvis.

Mr Jarvis is a passionate advocate that the facility would be significant both on environmental and tourism grounds.

With a federal election pending later in the year, he threw down the gauntlet to both major federal parties to move the facility plan from the concept stage to project funding.

"Immediate funding of $150,000-$200,000 can now get this project ready to go with full drawings and relevant costings,” Mr Jarvis said.

Mr Jarvis is calling on Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen and Labor candidate Belinda Hassan to examine the worth of the facility.

"Recently former Whitsunday Regional Council CEO Barry Omundson had support a reef educational facility at Shute Harbour and suggested an area where this project would be best located,” he said.

"Barry had indicated to federal local member George Christensen that with Federal funding the project could succeed.

"George Christensen and Belinda Hassan we await your valued support and planning funding commitment before we cast our vote on polling day.”

The initial plan for the coral research facility would include displays on Ngaro cultural history as first peoples of the Whitsunday and a small theatrette to run vision on development progress of coral research.

Coral polyps for planned transplant in Whitsunday waters would be on display in tank settings.

The facility would ensure tourists are kept informed on how the Whitsundays will remain a key link in the chain of coral research and development as the region can tackle the challenges of global warming and increased ocean acidification.

Mr Jarvis said the appeal for direct federal help would avoid conflict in the grant application model currently adopted by the likes of Australian Institute of Marine Science, CSIRO, Great Barrier Marine Park Authority and Great Barrier Reef Foundation.

"With great respect to all research organisations, they all have to source government funding,”

Mr Jarvis said.

"With a federal election pending it is critical to go to the direct source where government funding originates.

"That funding is basically decided by the government of the day and senior ministers within that government.”

The projected total cost for the building of the facility is estimated at $4million, but Mr Jarvis said it was a small price to pay when considering the grander scheme of things.

"For the future of Whitsundays tourism, it is essential that we, as a community, remain a direct, critical link in the ongoing prosperity of our Great Barrier Reef,” he said.