Dowerin accommodation precinct planned

Rebecca TurnerCountryman
Dowerin Shire chief executive Andrea Selvey.
Camera IconDowerin Shire chief executive Andrea Selvey. Credit: Sharon Smith

Construction of a new short-term accommodation precinct is about to start in the town of Dowerin.

The project is an initiative of the Shire of Dowerin and will help alleviate the shortage of quality accommodation available in the Wheatbelt.

Shire president Dale Metcalf said the project had come about after a 2013 community survey, which earmarked a new short-term accommodation option as something the people of Dowerin would like developed in the town.

The same survey also suggested Dowerin residents wanted to see a gym and childcare centre, both of which have since been implemented by the Shire.

Mr Metcalf said the accommodation project began with a committee formed in 2013 to progress research into developing a new short-term accommodation option in Dowerin.

“The committee toured surrounding areas to see what accommodation was available and it was evident from this research that quality accommodation was something that warranted further development in this area of the Wheatbelt,” he said.

After initial research, the Shire of Dowerin applied for, and has been granted, $800,000 in Federal funding through the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development to build a short-term accommodation precinct.

The project was initially costed at $4.6 million; however, the Shire of Dowerin has since re-negotiated with the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development to break the project into phases, with phase one to start construction this year.

Phase one of the project will include building four studio apartments, three one-bedroom units and 11 caravan sites adjacent to the Dowerin Community Clubhouse.

Mr Metcalf said an ablution block and camp kitchen would also be included in the first phase as well as any additional requirements necessary to future proof the site for further phases of the project.

He said a priority of phase two of the project would include “bunkhouse” accommodation, which would provide suitable accommodation for school groups and sporting teams.

Shire chief executive Andrea Selvey said in addition to Federal funding of the project, the Shire of Dowerin would contribute $1.085 million towards phase one of the project, and Dowerin Events Management had committed to contributing an additional $400,000 towards the first phase.

Mrs Selvey said the project was already under way, with an architect appointed.

MCG Architects, of Bunbury, who were also the architects of the Dowerin Community Clubhouse, have been appointed to design the project.

Mrs Selvey said the vision of the project was a high-quality accommodation facility that reflected the unique environment of the Wheatbelt, encompassing the heritage, community and landscape of Dowerin.

“We believe that this project will create a really interesting and unique development for the community of Dowerin that will increase visitation to our town and add to our social and economic vibrancy,” she said.

“We want anyone considering visiting the Wheatbelt to think that this is the accommodation of choice.”

The Shire has committed to seeing phase one of the project completed by June 30 next year and it is hoped it will be available as an accommodation option for exhibitors at the 2017 Dowerin GWN7 Machinery Field Days.

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