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Equipment upgrade in Rotto facelift
The West Australian Equipment upgrade in Rotto facelift

Rottnest is undergoing a facelift with new hire bikes and a diving pontoon as part of ambitious plans to improve recreational facilities on the island.

The 700 new unisex bikes, worth about $230,000, will be available to holidaymakers this week.

Rottnest Island Authority chairman Laurie O'Meara said yesterday that the bikes had been specially designed to cope with the rigours of Rottnest.

"The new bikes ride very well and have comfort saddles and fewer gears," he said. "They will allow us to expand our overall fleet to 1300 and we expect to be able to reduce waiting times for visitors wanting to hire a bike."

The RIA is also hiring a host of other equipment, including wet suits, snorkels, flippers, surfboards, bodyboards, beach cricket sets and eskies. They are also providing oxygen refills for dive tanks.

The $15,000 pontoon was moored 80m offshore at the popular swimming area at the Basin, on the northern side of the island, on Monday.

Mr O'Meara said it was important to develop facilities and attractions that could be enjoyed by the whole family, particularly teenagers.

The RIA has decided to take over the running of the putt-putt golf course and trampolines, which fell into disrepair after the facility was closed late last year.

RIA holiday services manager Peter Hill said other facilities would be introduced in coming months.

Mr Hill said these would include table tennis and pool tables and a book and games exchange service.

New digital theatre equipment has also been purchased, at a cost of $20,000, for the neighbouring Picture Hall.

Mr O'Meara said the RIA's long-term plan was to shift the recreational facilities - including the putt-putt golf and trampolines - closer to Bathurst Lighthouse, near existing tennis courts and the golf course.

"Bathurst seems to be an area where families with older children tend to stay," he said. "Ideally, this would be something we could develop with private enterprise."