A UK-based educational and environmental charity has commenced community consultation to seek feedback on a concept for a world-class eco-tourism attraction within Alcoa’s former mine site in Anglesea, Victoria.
The Eden Project’s concept is currently being presented to the community, which showcases a vision to transform an area within the former coal mine into a destination for immersive education and experiences which celebrate the local ecology and tell a story of sustainability.
Eden’s concept amplifies the region’s prized environmental and cultural attributes, including the scenic Great Ocean Road and the Great Otway National Park.
David Harland, CEO of Eden’s global wing, Eden Project International Limited, said: “We’re incredibly excited to work together with the community on this concept, which could bring environmental, social and economic regeneration to Anglesea and the wider region, while re-imagining what’s possible within Australian mine rehabilitation sites.
“We’ve envisioned a place of extraordinary experiences, fusing science and wonder to immerse visitors in the extreme elements – fire, air, earth and water – which have shaped the surf coast region and its inhabitants for millennia, creating a must-see prelude for a journey on the Great Ocean Road.
“This concept will be a global exemplar of sustainability and environmental excellence.”
The charity has already experienced success in this area, having founded Eden Project Cornwall – a former mine site-turned-global garden that has contributed $3.65 billion to the regional economy in Cornwall and welcomed more than 20 million visitors since it opened in 2001.
“Our experience in Cornwall shows us it’s possible to take a former mining landscape and create a place that celebrates our natural world and educates and entertains people from all walks of life, while providing a year-round positive impact for the community,” Harland said.
“It’s our goal to speak with as many people as we can over the coming weeks to energise and inspire them to help us develop the ideas for what could be their Eden Project in Anglesea.”
Initial projections show a world-class eco-tourism attraction of this type will support at least 300 full-time jobs and attract thousands of new visitors to Anglesea, according to Eden.
Through all stages of analysis, planning, design and construction, the concept is estimated to cost approximately $150 million. Following achievement of the relevant planning and rezoning approvals, the construction is expected to be complete within 18 to 24 months.
John Osborne, director of asset planning and management at Alcoa, said: “Alcoa is tremendously proud to work with our colleagues from Eden who are recognised globally for creating landmark eco-tourism facilities and experiences.
“This exciting concept brings to life the guiding principles Alcoa developed in partnership with the Anglesea community in 2016 to shape the transformation of the former mine site.
“It presents an outstanding opportunity to showcase the site’s unique natural values while making a significant and lasting contribution to the region for generations to come.
“We look forward to receiving input from the Anglesea community and key stakeholders on this concept for the freehold mine site.”