Council today welcomed a Federal Government announcement that it has been successful in obtaining a $1 million Queensland Tourism Infrastructure Fund grant towards the Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve Building Renewal Project.
The successful funding application is a key part of long-term project to build a world-class discovery centre at the Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve.
The Queensland Tourism Infrastructure fund is part of the Commonwealth’s Tourism Demand Driver Infrastructure program, which provides Queensland with $7.8 million to be invested in local projects over four years.
Federal Member for Fisher Mal Brough MP said that the Federal funding would give tourism in the region a boost.
“Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve is truly a special place in our Hinterland and I am very pleased that the area will now be further enhanced as a result of this funding announcement,” Mr Brough said.
“Tourists and locals, including the wonderful volunteers of the Reserve, will benefit greatly from this project and I am happy to see all three levels of Government working together for the betterment of our region.”
Divisional councillor Jenny McKay said there was still a way to go in realising the project, but was thrilled with the outcome of this application and thanked Mr Brough for the Federal Government’s support.
Cr McKay also acknowledged the support given to the project by Tourism Minister Kate Jones and the Queensland State Government.
“We have met with senators, Federal and State politicians and community leaders, leaving no stone unturned in our quest to attract funding for this important regional project,” Cr McKay said.
“We have also undertaken extensive stakeholder and community consultation in the development of this project, ensuring the broader community, visitors and key stakeholders were involved and informed in the design of the concept plans.
“Our key stakeholders such as the Friends of Mary Cairncross, the volunteers and the tourism groups – including Sunshine Coast Destination Limited – are particularly excited about the renewal project.”
The project proposes to include a new Discovery Centre, cafe, gift shop, elevated viewing platform, meeting theatrette, conservation research area and offices and amenities for the hard working volunteers and staff who run the information desk 365 days of the year.
The new discovery centre will cater for increased numbers of visitors who are attracted to and are keen to learn about the area’s natural scenic beauty, thereby reducing the impacts on the rainforest walking tracks.
“The Reserve’s focus on conservation and environmental education means we are attracting hundreds of coaches each year,” Cr McKay said.
“That’s thousands of people eager to learn about the Reserve while having a great day out.
“But unfortunately we have to turn away busloads and school groups during wet weather because the current centre is not able to cater for large numbers during these conditions.”
Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve has been a popular destination for residents and visitors for more than 50 years and attracts about 200,000 people annually.
Article from the Sunshine Coast Council 16th October 2015.