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John Forrest upgrade open for comment
The public are now able to comment on new designs for John Forrest National Park.

John Forrest upgrade open for comment

NEW plans for the upgrade of John Forrest National Park have revealed a café to replace the now closed John Forrest Tavern will not open until 2025.

The iconic pub, also known as the Wildflower Tavern, closed last month in anticipation of the $11 million redevelopment of the park.

Despite its closure, the fate of the 1978-built structure remained unconfirmed until today.

“Re-purposing the tavern building is not achievable due to the age and condition of the building, presence of asbestos, likelihood of contaminated soils from the waste treatment system, cost of rebuilding, and difficulty integrating the building with other proposed works given its location and style,” the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) said in its most recent project update.

“The schematic designs presented by [architect] Gresley Abas have identified an alternative use of the tavern site, being access for all picnic facilities and an amphitheatre for community use adjacent to Jane Brook.”

The cafe forms part of a new park hub which also includes an interpretation space.

A large part of the plans also reveal a new carpark with new access road, which will join to the park hub via a bridge and elevated walkway.

However, the state government’s vision to reinvigorate the premier national park has not been supported by the community with a petition to save the tavern gathering more than 20,000 signatures.

 

The Shire of Mundaring also objected to the plan after council voted in April to write to Premier Mark McGowan and Tourism and Environment Minister Reese Whitby expressing “deep concerns” over the tavern’s closure and the lack of public consultation.

“I am deeply disappointed no plans have been presented to council,” Cr Jo Cicchini said at the April meeting.

“Keep the pub, give it some love and don’t jeopardise our tourist attraction.”

Kalamunda MLA Matthew Hughes then hit back at the decision in an interview with Echo News, saying it was premature of Council to comment while the upgrade was still in its design phase.

After the release of the new designs on Wednesday, Mr Hughes said the John Forrest National Park was entering an “exciting new era”.

“I am very pleased to see the early results of the design process, the contemporary and sensitive designs are fitting for such an iconic part of Western Australia,” he said.

Construction on improved hiking and off-road cycling trails and the new carpark are expected to start this year and finish next year.

Construction of the park hub, with café, is expected to start next year and finish in 2025.

“Combined with the park’s new and upgraded trail network, these designs represent an exciting new future for our State’s first national park,” Environment Minister Reece Whitby said.

“The new buildings and facilities have been positioned to complement the natural environment and take advantage of the stunning views, and the architects have worked closely with traditional owners.

“Ensuring accessibility for all is central to the design, and I’m extremely pleased that these upgrades will allow more people than ever to experience and enjoy the park.”

While the new hub is being constructed, visitors will be able to buy food and drinks from food vans.

Once the new café has been constructed, DBCA will offer a management lease via a publicly advertised, competitive process.

The plans are now open for public comment here.

By Claire Ottaviano

About The Editorial Team

Echo News gives readers an alternative to other media outlets in WA and enjoys a very high rate of readership in its distribution area. Our Echo News team are a small group of devoted individuals who work hard to give the local community an easy to read, yet intelligent mix of local community stories.

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