The potential to attract cruise ship stopovers in Geographe Bay will be investigated as part of a new study into the development of a marine berthing facility in Busselton.
The City of Busselton has secured a $38,335 grant from the Department of Resources, Industry and Tourism, on the condition it is matched dollarfor-dollar by the City.
City community and commercial services director Naomi Searle said the stand-alone facility, to be located adjacent to the Busselton Jetty, was envisioned to have a removable passenger ramp to allow direct access to the jetty.
“The venture has the potential to develop into a new and innovative tourism experience for the region,” she said.
“The marine berthing facility concept, that could facilitate superyachts, is just one aspect in an overall marine tourism initiative being explored by City officers.”
Mrs Searle said while Busselton was already well-known as a premier marine tourism location, there was potential to elevate the status on a national and international platform and being able to facilitate larger vessels could be pivotal to that growth.
The new funding would be used for the preparation of an economic impact study, and a business case and feasibility study which would involve extensive and stakeholder consultation.
“An external consultant will be engaged to assist with the progress of the study,” Mrs Searle said.
“It is likely that the City will need to engage the services of a marine engineer for the design development of marine berthing facilities.”
City officers are preparing a report for council consideration, which will likely be discussed at a meeting next month. Mrs Searle said if the project proceeded a staged approach would be presented to the Department, with an anticipated start date in January and conclusion by the first quarter of 2014.
The Shire of Augusta-Margaret River, the Augusta-Margaret River Tourism Association and the South West Development Commission joined forces last month in a bid to secure a cruise shipping tender for the Small Augusta Boat Harbour.Mrs Searle said there could be opportunities for a collaborative approach between the City and the Augusta-Margaret River Shire Council.