Cowell foreshore to be transformed

BIG PLANS: Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey, Franklin Harbour District Mayor Robert Walsh, Tourism Officer Stacey Franklin and CEO Chris Smith at the Cowell foreshore.
BIG PLANS: Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey, Franklin Harbour District Mayor Robert Walsh, Tourism Officer Stacey Franklin and CEO Chris Smith at the Cowell foreshore.

The Cowell foreshore is set to undergo a major redevelopment after the Franklin Harbour District Council received $4.5 million in government funding.

Recent grants of $3 million in federal funding and $1.5 million from the SA Boating Facilities Advisory Committee (SABFAC) will allow the council to fully fund a six-tiered plan costing around $8 million altogether.

Chief executive officer Chris Smith said the council had been selling assets for a few years to set up a reserve of $1 million for the project, and had received $547,000 and a $2 million loan from the previous state government.

He said the project would be undertaken in stages over a three to five year period.

The first section of the project will be a new tourist centre along the Lincoln Highway, featuring a small demonstration of an oyster hatchery.

An extension of Second Street would follow to address safety concerns from oyster growers, keeping oyster punt traffic away from popular spaces for children and tourists.

Land for the extension will need to be purchased from the state government, and while the council is expecting pushback from the Coast Protection Board, Mr Smith said the process was looking smoother now funding had been allocated.

A market shed with sliding sides will be constructed on the foreshore to be used as a multi-purpose community space.

The foreshore will also see the construction of multiple commercial buildings which Mr Smith said would become a food hall with liquor licensing and an emphasis on local seafood.

A marina with 30 permanent berths, ten visitor berths and a building will be constructed to attract boating tourism.

Finally a water playground including a 25 metre swimming pool free for public use will be part of the foreshore development.

Mr Smith said the council had spent three years trying to secure funding for the project and was unsuccessful on multiple occasions.

"All of a sudden we've cracked it on every front," he said.

He said the project would bring "substantial job opportunities" for locals, as well as attracting additional businesses such as charter boats and tour operators to the district.

"The outcome will be truly transformational," he said.

"It will be the equivalent or better than anything that exists on the Eyre Peninsula."

The council will be holding a public meeting in a few weeks to hear community views.

Mr Smith said the concept for the redevelopment came from a project conducted by Adelaide University students almost ten years ago, which received significant positive feedback during consultation with around 600 community members.

"The ideas were already there… this is what the community mapped out in 2011 as the future of Cowell." he said.

He thanked member for Grey Rowan Ramsey, state local government minister Stephan Knoll and SABFAC for their support of the project.

Mr Ramsey said he was pleased the federal government had committed $3 million.

"The project will bring about an enormous change for Cowell with the council, oyster industry, school, tourism operators and the community coming together to bring about the best result," he said.