A new 250-pen marina is at the centre of ambitious plans put forward by the Bunbury Marine Facilities Alliance to transform Koombana Bay and Casuarina Harbour into a sailing mecca.
The $30 million plans, to develop commercial and tourism hubs around new boating facilities, will be launched to the public later this month.
Seeking Bunbury City Council support this week, alliance chairman David Kerr said the Bunbury boating community had joined together to create a clear vision for the area.
The alliance is pushing forward with the first stage of the plans, to secure $1 million funding for an environmental study and engineering design for the marina.
Stage two would be the construction of the marina and the third stage would be to develop the commercial opportunities.
He said Bunbury’s waterfront represented an opportunity to attract major sailing events, improve the area’s amenities and boost tourism.
He said studies had predicted the direct financial benefit of the development would be $18 million and 94 jobs.
The new marina at Koombana Bay would be self-sufficient after the initial investment, he said.
In the plans, a number of boating clubs would move to one location, freeing up land for development.
Mr Kerr said the Bunbury Power Boat Club would become available for residential development which would be worth $4 million to $6 million.
Koombana Bay Sailing Club commodore David Doherty said there was a demand from the area’s boating community for a new marina.
Mr Doherty said he expected 140 pens at the marina would be taken up quickly by boat users keen to keep their boats in Bunbury.
“People would rather have their boats where they can use them, ” he said.
He said he knew of 80 to 90 boats which were moored out of the water during the winter and others docked elsewhere which would return to Bunbury.
Mr Kerr asked the council to support the alliance’s concept and proposed infrastructure and said consultation with key stakeholders was continuing.
Cr Ross Slater congratulated the alliance on the plans and said he would not be surprised if the marina “filled up very quickly”.
The alliance will meet next week with Transport Minister Troy Buswell and the Department of Planning.