World class zoo coming to Western Sydney
Environment Minister Mark Speakman has announced the approval of the lease of a 16.5- hectare site in the Western Sydney Parklands, which will be the site for Sydney’s proposed new family oriented zoo.
“The proposed zoo, adjacent to Bungarribee’s new picnic and playgrounds, will be a popular new attraction to Western Sydney, bringing family fun, recreation and ecological education to visitors, and adding to the already great assortment of recreational activities available in the Western Sydney Parklands,” Mr Speakman said.
Some of the proposed exhibits include: Glassed observation areas for hippos, crocodiles and other aquatic life; Australian reptile and nocturnal animal houses; African grasslands with elevated viewing walkways with animals such as lions, cheetahs, elephants, wildebeest, giraffes and rhinos; and native waterways with animals that include bull sharks.
“The focus on native animals and Indigenous culture will be a highlight, and it will illustrate the dramatic and compelling stories of the local Darug people,” Mr Speakman said.
“I’m not lion, when I say this zoo will create fantastic memories for hundreds of thousands of Sydney families every year,” he said.
“I’ll stick my neck out and predict the giraffes will be hugely popular, which is a tall order,” Mr Speakman added.
The new zoo, if approved, will open in late 2017 and attract about 745,000 visitors a year.
Tourism Minister and Member for Penrith Stuart Ayres said Western Sydney was emerging as a dynamic new centre for tourism and recreation investment with world class facilities right in the backyard of 2 million local residents.
“The Sydney Zoo will be uniquely located to service the strong family and relatives market in Western Sydney and tap into the growing number of international tourists visiting the west of Sydney as they travel to and from the Blue Mountains,” Mr Ayres said.
A KPMG report suggests the zoo will deliver more than $60 million worth of benefits during the construction period while the annual impact on the wider NSW economy is estimated to be around $45 million. Another 50 full-time and 50 casual positions are expected to be created when the zoo opens.
The zoo is also in talks with Western Sydney University about potentially establishing a Centre of Excellence in Wildlife Conservation – a research facility housed on the Zoo site.