It will be a proud moment for MCG Architects director Michel Greenhalgh when he finally walks through the completed Dolphin Discovery Centre after working on the multi-million dollar project for the past 10 years.
As the project nears completion he described it as “pretty magic” to see it all come together.
“It’s been a long journey and a lot of that work and time has been David Kerr and his team seeking funding but its really these last three years that we’ve been really active with this project,” he said.
“We had a design we did for the initial funding application, which won the funding then after that was successful I said to my team it wasn’t good enough and we had another crack at it.
“We went back about nine times and it wasn’t the client saying no, it was me, so we kept going and going.”
“My team has been absolutely exceptional with the work they have done on this, in particular Lloyd Pringle, who was the driver of the design and Joerg Sandgiller who made this thing happen.”
Pops of blue and waves appear throughout the building, which now includes an upstairs function room overlooking Koombana Bay, interpretative centre with several aquariums, viewing platform, cafe, administration and visitor shop.
“The design has come about with inspiration from a local Noongar story of the children being washed out to sea and their spirits coming back as the dolphins,” Mr Greenhalgh said.
“The screen on the front comes through the door and brings the children through and the timber ceiling is the Leeuwin current carrying the children out to sea over the viewing platform – so the design has been inspired by that.”
Mr Greenhalgh praised Bunbury-based builder Perkins for their speedy work on the project.
“At the end of the day what we have created here has all been done locally,” he said.
“Perkins have done an incredible job to knock this on the head in 10 months and what they’ve achieved in that short time is unbelievable.
Mr Greenhalgh said he hoped the centre would pave the way for more tourists coming into Bunbury.
“I think this is the catalyst for Bunbury to become more of a destination,” he said.