DANIEL ARANGIO & MIRA BURAYOU
A man with a plan for a dinosaur museum at Perth’s Swan Valley has questioned critique by City of Swan officials ahead of a council meeting that will decide the fate of the project.
Swan council planners have recommended the museum, proposed for Middle Swan, be refused over fears it may disturb viticulture in the nationally-known Swan Valley wine region.
If approved at a council meeting on Wednesday night, against the planners’ recommendation, the museum would include an education centre, café, souvenir shop, playground, walking tour and 36-seat cinema.
InkWire today tried to contact the council’s two Swan Valley/Gidgegannup ward councillors, Darryl Trease and Rod Henderson, without success.
However, councillor for Swan’s Midland/Guilford Ward, Ian Johnson, said the project would disrupt the existing area’s food and wine character.
“I don’t think we should be using land that can be used for viticulture,” Cr Johnson said.
“We need to retain the Swan Valley viticulture area for viticulture or we won’t have a Swan Valley.”
Ken Robinson, who says he came up with the dinosaur museum idea with his brother, says he is unsure why the project should not be approved.
“I don’t comprehend why it has been so hard and why everyone has been so anti to it,” Mr Robinson said.
“I don’t see how it doesn’t fit in with viticulture.”
Mr Robinson hatched the idea of the museum while visiting a dinosaur theme park just out of Shanghai.
“I looked at it and thought: ‘Jesus, something like this in Australia would go really well’,” he said.
Mr Robinson said he chose the Swan Valley due to its growing family appeal and ease of access.
“I don’t see how we’re going to disturb the area when everything we’re proposing is indoors.
“You actually won’t see our dinosaurs from the highway.”
The museum is slated to include a range of dinosaurs from different time periods.
“You have the different periods and we were going to have about 15 dinosaurs from each period,” Mr Robinson said.
“It’s going to be something totally different for Perth that they’ve never seen before.”
The museum has also come under scrutiny from the Swan River Trust for potential issues with storm water dispersion.
“[The Swan River Trust] believe our storm water may affect [Jane Brook], which I don’t get,” Robinson said.
“We’ve got a state of the art sewerage system that’s been approved by the health department.”
Another councillor for the Midland/Guilford Ward, Mark Elliott, acknowledged that the plan had potential to boost Perth’s tourism due to its unique appeal.
However he said the museum must take into account the wine region’s distinctive nature.
“The Swan Valley is already an excellent tourism destination but further broadening that increases the potential for our industry to expand,” Cr Elliot said.
“In the Swan Valley the primacy has to be around viticulture and horticulture.
“It’s important that the proper planning can be considered during that process.”
Mr Robinson lamented that the plan was likely to be unsuccessful.
“I believe the shire will probably can this,” he said.
“I think they’ll vote against it on Wednesday night.”