Coffs Coast Wildlife Centre

The Coffs Coast Wildlife Centre is an eco-tourism project, architect-designed to provide a symbiotic relationship with the Coffs Coast Wildlife Hospital.

  • YEAR COMPLETED :
  • LOCATION :
  • CATEGORY :
  • VISUALIZATION :
  • EXCERPT : A new iconic eco-tourism development

The Coffs Coast Wildlife Centre is an eco-tourism project, architect-designed to provide a symbiotic relationship with the Coffs Coast Wildlife Hospital. The Wildlife Hospital needs to be self-funded. A review of best practices and financial models at other facilities offered no viable options. A new model is needed.

The Coffs Coast Wildlife Centre is the answer. It creates an integrated wildlife-care and eco-tourism experience based on nature, science, education, and tourism – within a sustainable financial model. The Wildlife Centre will be pivotal to funding the Wildlife Hospital while creating a new eco-tourism icon five minutes from Coffs Harbour Airport. Coffs Coast locals and visitors alike will be attracted by the opportunity to observe a fully functioning Wildlife Hospital from the upstairs viewing area. They can also participate in nature-based educational experiences, and enjoy unique visitor and accommodation facilities in a natural setting. Overlooking Boambee Creek, and located wholly within the southern third of the 5.7 ha site, the development aims to sit lightly within the landscape. All significant trees will be maintained and as much of the ground plane vegetation as possible. Weeds will be removed and native vegetation replanted wherever disturbance cannot be avoided.

The low level of disturbance will be achieved by mounting the accommodation modules onto a single steel collar, raising them off the ground. Access is via a walkway suspended 5m above ground. The modules are to be factory built 3 km away and helicoptered into position, minimising site works. Services will run along the raised boardwalk reducing the need to cut through tree roots. The buildings are to be lightweight structures with a membrane surface over a hardwood frame. A salt water fire suppression system (approved in concept) will allow the project to maintain more of the bush setting.

Local hardwood timber will feature throughout the project. The natural history and use of Australian hardwoods will become a project narrative with interpretive educational displays outlining the process used to salvage the timber used in the project, plus other sustainable timber resource strategies.