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Department of Parks and Wildlife Headquarters, Bunbury

In January 2015 the Department of Parks and Wildlife was requested to undertake a detailed due diligence study of Lots 881, 882, 883 and 460 on the south side of Koombana Drive in Bunbury for the purpose of:

• Establishing the future headquarters of the department, with an initial development intended to provide accommodation for 100 staff with a further 200 staff to be accommodated within 10 years
• Creating a ‘visitor gateway to the natural attractions of the south west’
• Enhancing the natural environment of the site, including the adjacent Leschenault inlet area, through undertaking related scientific study, environmental protection and improving public access.

Ferguson Architects was commissioned to undertake initial investigations and prepare masterplans of the site. The site presented a number of interesting aspects through its location and history. It is located between Koombana Bay and the Leschenault Inlet, with some areas believed to be part of the remnant dunal system. Directly to the south is an area of mangroves. This is the most southern mangrove community in Western Australia and is over 500 km south of the next occurrence of the species.

Pre 1896 the shoreline ran through this site. At least nine ships are recorded to have been wrecked in the vicinity of this site. Excavations undertaken by the WA Museum have found two confirmed shipwreck sites within the site area.

Lot 460 has been subject to mineral sand mining and the deposition of non-mineralised tailing material from the mineral separation process. Rehabilitation via the use of sand capping was completed in 1995. The landscaping component of the project is seen as an important element to significantly improve the site, enhance the natural environment, make the site more accessible to the public and provide educational opportunities through interpretive material about the many interesting aspects of the site. The landscaping
includes a new lookout which will provide views to the ocean, the inlet and back to the City of Bunbury. With zoning and planning limitations on the site for the construction of the buildings it was determined that the extensive landscaping and car parking component of this project will be undertaken as Stage 1 of this project.

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