The West

Plan to upgrade Gap put on hold

Multimillion-dollar plans to upgrade facilities at the Gap in Albany have hit a roadblock after concerns they could close the popular tourist spot during Anzac centenary commemorations.

Under a proposal that was put out for tender last September, the Department of Parks and Wildlife had outlined an overhaul of ageing lookouts at the Gap and Natural Bridge.

Upgrades to the lookout at the Gap were to involve the construction of decking that would overhang the surf below in a move that would see it rival the Tree Top Walk near Walpole as an experience.

The area, which is known for its wild weather, pounding surf and rugged beauty, is a major drawcard for tourists, attracting thousands of visitors every year.

Although tenders for the work closed in November last year and there had been expectations a winning bidder would be announced by now, the department confirmed it had deferred the process.

It noted that the original timeframe may have seen the tourist facility shut down for the upgrades while Albany was hosting Anzac centenary commemorations in November.

Albany is set to be flooded with as many as 70,000 visitors for the event as it hosts a re- enactment of the first Anzac convoy departing for World War I.

In a statement yesterday, the department said it hoped to re- start the tender process within a couple of months.

Though stopping short of detailing the project's estimated cost, it said there was money in the State Budget for it courtesy of the Royalties for Regions program.

"This is a multimillion- dollar project and funds have been allocated under the Royalties for Regions program and departmental appropriation," a spokeswoman said.

"It is intended to call for tenders within the next four to six weeks."

The West Australian

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