Posted on 06th December 2018 by Media Relations
Taronga Western Plains Zoo will officially open its new bike and cart Hire Centre today. The Hire Centre features over 1000m² of solar panels and is an important step towards achieving a centre that is electricity neutral.
The $1.5 million Hire Centre redevelopment took 18 months to complete and features two large new sheds; a bike storage shed and workshop, and an electric cart storage shed and recharging facility. A new sales building constructed to ensure a smooth guest experience sits stylishly at the front of the centre. Other works include car park resurfacing, improved traffic management and the solar installation on the roof.
“This project involved the complete demolition of the previous bike and cart hire centre which was built back in the late 1970s and in dire need of improvement,” said Zoo Director Steve Hinks.
“It’s very exciting to stand here today and officially open a brand new Hire Centre which ensures a smoother hire experience for our guests, showcases our large range of bikes and carts and is environmentally friendly.”
The solar system at the new Hire Centre is the latest addition to the Zoo’s strategy to reduce energy consumption on site, with the aim to be certified carbon neutral by 2025.
“This 80kW solar system will produce approximately 140 MWh/annum which equates to enough electricity to power 26 houses,” said Steve.
“The aim is to have a solar electricity storage battery added to the complex next year so that we can store energy and allow the electric carts to charge overnight using clean energy.”
“Whilst the Hire Centre will still be connected to the grid it is expected to be electricity neutral once this battery is installed,” said Steve.
The Zoo’s Hire Centre will also welcome an additional 300 bikes in the coming weeks, ready for visitors to hire over the summer school holiday period.
“Hiring a bike and riding around the Zoo is a fond memory that many people have of a visit to Taronga Western Plains Zoo. We hope the new Hire Centre will make the process of hiring a bike or electric cart easy for our guests, setting the scene for a fun day of exploring the Zoo,” said Steve.
The Hire Centre project was co-funded by the NSW Government and Taronga Conservation Society Australia to the value of $1 million from the Centenary Visitor Experience Plan, with the additional investment being contributed by Taronga Western Plains Zoo.
The Hire Centre project was completed by David Payne Constructions in association with Taylor Made buildings, Solgen and State Wide Sheds.