Activity begins on the Mary Cairncross building upgrade
  • Wednesday 06 April 2016
New Mary Cairncross Discovery Centre artist impression of front entryFrom mid-April, visitors to Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve can expect to see some construction activity at the reserve as the contractor begins work on the building renewal project.

By the middle of next year, visitors will be able to enjoy an educational experience at the new Discovery Centre, with an elevated viewing platform and boardwalk, and meeting theatrette. The upgrade also features a conservation research area and offices and amenities for the hard-working volunteers and staff who run the information desk.

Once finished it will better deliver on the Thynne sisters’ desire to conserve and exhibit the Reserve’s stunning flora, fauna and scenery.

Division 5 Councillor Jenny McKay said delivering this project in an environmentally responsible manner is of the upmost importance to council.

“It’s important to note that the construction work will be strongly guided by detailed environmental management plan which identifies all environmental risks and how they are to be managed, along with roles and responsibilities for ongoing monitoring and reporting,” Cr McKay said.

“And that the footprint of the new building will remain within already disturbed areas at the reserve.

“Fences will be erected and early demolition works will begin after the Easter school holidays, with a few minor changes onsite for visitors to be aware of.”

There will be some minor modifications to parking and vehicle movement throughout the construction period, which will be clearly signed.

The Forest Walk will remain open, however visitors are asked to please pay attention to onsite signage as the access point to the forest walk will be changed to provide a safe environment for visitors.

The volunteers and temporary visitor centre will be open as normal, except from April 11-13 to enable the transition from the current education centre to the temporary facility.

A temporary café will also be set up, but this may take a few weeks due to tendering and technical logistics.

Visitors will still be able to enjoy the remainder of the park and the BBQ and picnic area during construction.

Cr McKay said the project would never have reached this point without the on-going support of the community-based Design Advisory Panel, the Friends of Mary Cairncross and the dedicated volunteers.

“These groups have helped ensure the building upgrade was sensitively designed to fit in with the look and feel of the Reserve,” Cr McKay said.

“Council’s construction budget has been supported by $1 million from the Queensland Tourism Infrastructure Fund, an initiative under the Australian Government’s Tourism Demand-Driver Infrastructure (TDDI) programme, administered by the Queensland Government through the Department of Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games, and $250,000 in gold coin donations raised by the dedicated Mary Cairncross volunteers.”

From 2014-15, the TDDI program will invest $43.1 million over four years – including $7.86 million in Queensland – to drive tourism demand through building capability and tourism infrastructure which will provide a boost to local attractions such as Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve, and the businesses that depend on them.

Minister for Tourism and Major Events Kate Jones said the project would help attract more visitors to the area, and provide for a better visitor experience.

“The Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve is a wonderful place for both visitors and locals to enjoy a picnic, take a hike, or even spot a pademelon and this upgrade will make it even better,” Ms Jones said.

“Tourism is booming in Queensland at the moment, which is good news for tour operators, local businesses and the broader economy, and improvements like this will help ensure we make a good impression and encourage repeat visits.

“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to growing the tourism industry and working in partnership with industry and the Australian Government to deliver a shared vision for Queensland Tourism’s future.”
It is anticipated that the works would be completed by mid-2017.

Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve is highly recognised as a regional icon for its significant conservation values and has been a popular destination for residents and visitors for more than 50 years. It attracts about 200,000 people annually.