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Innovative project planned for Muttonbird Island

AN outdoor education and performance structure to be created at the base of Muttonbird Island is a step in the right direction in recognising the cultural significance of the area, according to the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

The structure’s design was chosen out of 23 submissions with the help of the Garlambirla Guuywa-Girrwa Elders, and consists of a new ramp made of recycled timber and a 4m high timber screen to create a natural amphitheatre.

Aboriginal art, history and the significance of the area to the Gumbaynggirr people will be included in the structure, as will creative approaches to environmental issues.

The project was announced yesterday after $320,000 was secured by Arts Mid North Coast in the second round of the Federal Government’s Jobs Fund, part of the economic stimulus package.

Ann Walton, National Parks and Wildlife Service’s nature reserve range for Muttonbird Island, said a significant amount of planning and development had already been carried out on the project, including $200,000 already raised in resources and materials.

She was thrilled with the funding announcement.

Cherelle Brooke, landscape architect for the Coffs Harbour City Council, said the submission by Fisher Design and Architecture was chosen as it integrated into the natural land forms and was sympathetic to the natural environment.

Hailed as an innovative project and outstanding example of the intersection between the environment and the arts, Richard Holloway from Arts Mid North Coast said the Federal Minister for the Environment Protection Heritage and the Arts, Peter Garrett, had already expressed a desire to visit the site.

The project is expected to be completed by the end of the year, when it will then be used as a creative public performance venue where a variety of training and events can be held.

Coffs Coast Advocate- Clara Smith 01 Apr, 2010