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Corporation of the City of Whyalla

04/02/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 04/02/2024 04:58

Upgrade to cater for increased demand

Upgrade to cater for increased demand

02 March 2024

The cuttlefish dive site near Point Lowly is getting an upgrade, ensuring it can safely cater for the ever-increasing visitors coming to see our unique and spectacular natural attraction.

The major works will see a significant increase in parking and change areas; create a dedicated vendor area; provide vehicle turnaround / drop-off; and vastly improve safety for the thousands of annual visitors.

Mayor Phill Stone said extensive research has been conducted in the lead-up to the project, with experts confirming there will be negligible impact on the cuttlefish migration and suitability of the environment for spawning.

"The cuttlefish have become a global phenomenon in recent years, even attracting BBC film crews to document this spectacular natural wonder," Mayor Stone said.

"The existing facilities were never intended to cater for such high demand, so it became critical to upgrade the area to make it safe for the increasing number of visitors, as well as better suited to the variety of experiences now on offer."

Mayor Stone said there was no point upgrading the area if it was going to impact on the very attraction that visitors were flocking to see.

"We've worked with scientists and experts to confirm that this work will have negligible impact on the conditions that make the site so conducive to the cuttlefish," he said.

"Although the project is timed to finish prior to the large migration commencing, we'll continually monitor the surrounding areas to provide additional understanding of potential impact that the proposed works may have on the cuttlefish."

Local cuttlefish expert Tony Bramley commended Whyalla City Council for making the site safer and more enjoyable for visitors, while also taking the cuttlefish into account.

"The work is occurring on land and prior to the main migration, so I wouldn't expect it to have an impact," Mr Bramley said.

"We'll be involved in the monitoring of the area throughout the project and will keep Council informed of our observations."

The project is partially funded by the Australian Government's Local Roads and Community Infrastructure (LRCI) Program, with the remainder funded by Council.

Member for Grey, Rowan Ramsey, said the cuttlefish adventure had become a world-recognised feature of Whyalla and its environs and congratulated Council on both its fostering and promotion of the attraction.

"Council is utilising funds from the LRCI Program, which recognised that local councils know better than anyone where to spend grant monies to maximise the benefit to their community," he said.

Based on typical road construction noise levels, the noise transmitted into the water will not exceed typical background underwater noise levels and is not expected to cause any adverse impacts to cuttlefish.

There is potential for some works to generate vibration levels in the seabed which may exceed typical background levels. However, it's expected there is a low risk of significant impact on cuttlefish due to:

  • The works being some distance from the shoreline
  • The works occurring in April, which is outside the peak period of the Point Lowly cuttlefish aggregation (May to August)
  • The levels of sound/vibration from onshore works transmitted to the seabed and water likely being significantly lower than from other pre-existing sources, such as shipping, impact pile driving, dredging etc.

The works will be ongoing until the end of April, ensuring the upgrade is ready just in time for this year's Cuttlefest.

As a result, there will be no access to the toilets or other facilities in the area throughout April. Caravans will also be unable to access the area. Signage has been placed on the highway to alert motorists.

Council will continue to provide updates as the project progresses.