PHOTO GALLERY: Team McMillan's plans to revamp Rocky zoo
HATCHING a redevelopment design years ago, councillor candidate Drew Wickerson is finally ready to put his plans into action.
The division 6 candidate and team McMillan member says redeveloping the Rockhampton Zoo has always been a passion and dream of his ever since he worked at the Botanic Gardens.
Today Mr Wickerson was at last able to reveal the Rockhampton Zoo redevelopment master plans.
Plans for the zoo
- Local wildlife carer's station
- Volunteer resource centre and training facility
- Zoo will be transformed from the traditional 'Noah's Ark' model with mating pairs of each species
- Open range exhibits to have 'invisible fences' concealed beneath raised boardwalks
- Underwater viewing window to see crocodiles
- Walk through a gigantic snake structure for reptile exhibits
He said the zoo was already a great facility and a fantastic attraction but Team McMillan wanted to add more elements.
"I think the Rockhampton Zoo can be so much more than what it is," he said.
The plans which include the establishment of a local wildlife carer's station and new exhibits have been announced however the costing has not.
The candidate said the price tag at this stage was unknown as they had only established a concept plan.
"Before we went ahead with more detailed plans I think we need to do a lot more talking with the actual stakeholders of it," he said.
Mr Wickerson explained the redevelopment would somewhat rely on corporate sponsorship.
"Well certainly the council would have to be a player in it because it is our facility but we think we would attract generous funding from other corporations to be on board."
"I think if you offer up a really exciting innovative design that larger corporations and some of the bigger players can actually contribute to that and take ownership of that particular exhibit so it could be the 'x y x reptile enclosure' or another name brand."
With an upgrade on the agenda the question of an entry fee to the local zoo has been brought up as well.
"I don't think it's unrealistic to think there should be a cost involved in it as in like Australia Zoo has a cost to come in," Mr Wickerson said.
"However I think the local ratepayers of the Rockhampton Region have already paid their contribution through the rates."
The team McMillan candidate said the redevelopment was definitely a priority for the region but they had to first focus on the local economy.
"It is a priority because I think the welfare of animals should be everyone's priority however we've got to first focus on getting the economy of the region back up so we can afford all of these great things."
"At the moment we do have other priorities to get our economy back on track again and then that will fund great projects like what we have planned for the Rockhampton Zoo and it will take a number of years to do but it's the first step along a long journey."