Taronga Western Plains Zoo is excited to announce local company, David Payne Constructions, has been awarded the contract for the redevelopment of the Zoo’s front entrance and visitor plaza, the largest single project undertaken in the Zoo’s 32 year history. Work on the main entrance and new visitor plaza is set to start this week with temporary facilities now operating. The successful tenderer, David Payne Constructions, is a local firm based in Dubbo for over 27 years, one of several firms which tendered for the project. The total amount to be invested into the local community through the redevelopment of the front entrance and visitor plaza is $5.748 million, which includes already completed works such as the children’s playground, infrastructure upgrades and an overflow car park. Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s General Manager, Matt Fuller said: “The redevelopment of the Zoo’s front entrance and visitor plaza has been jointly funded by the NSW State Government and the Taronga Conservation Society Australia.” “The project will see up to 110 workers across 22 trades employed throughout the various stages of the construction which is scheduled to take about 15 months.” “The project will also stimulate the Dubbo economy with the creation of up to eight Indigenous Traineeships through the Indigenous Participation Scheme.” The redevelopment will revitalise a 30 year old building, providing a café, kiosk and shop in addition to visitor services such as information and ticketing. The new area will set the scene for the discovery and exploration of the Zoo and its wildlife, showcasing the Zoo’s role in community education and Australian and international conservation. The plans for redevelopment were designed to respond to requests from the local community to make the Zoo more accessible as well as provide a unique public space for functions, events and recreation. Upon completion, the Zoo’s new visitor plaza will be open to the public, providing free access to the area for the local community as well as visitors to Dubbo. The redevelopment of the front entrance and visitor plaza is likely to be completed in late 2010. During construction, the Zoo will continue to operate as normal from 9am to 4pm with souvenirs, food and drinks and information available from the temporary site of the Zoo Friends building. For more information about the Zoo contact 02 6881 1400 or visit www.taronga.org.au.