The redevelopment of Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s front entrance area is continuing with a number of key milestones achieved and the new Visitor Plaza well and truly taking shape. Since construction commenced in September 2009, the makeover of the 30-year-old building that previously contained the Savannah Room, Zoo Shop, Bakhita’s Café and Kiosk, has progressed at a rate of knots. Framework and roofing have been completed along with the redevelopment of the Savannah Lake terrace overlooking the Primate Islands. The terrace now features timber decking along the lake’s edge. Rendering of the new building has also been completed, with windows and doors installed and painting underway. Landscaping has commenced with over 4000 shrubs and grasses already planted alongside a pedestrian boulevard leading down to the new building. A water saving automated drip irrigation system has also been installed to assist with water conservation. As part of the redevelopment the Savannah Lake has been drained and desilted. The animals have been moved to temporary locations whilst work is carried out and their island homes are being reinforced with large boulders. “We are all very excited about the progress of the redevelopment,” said Zoo General Manager Matthew Fuller. “It is really moving forward and is becoming visually more and more intriguing. When complete later this year the Visitor Plaza will add a new dimension to the tourism offerings in Dubbo and give visitors and members of the community the opportunity to experience part of the Zoo, and its amazing animals, for free. Also in the free access zone will be the Zoo Shop, Bakhita’s Café and children’s playground.” “The new Visitor Plaza will streamline visitor services and set the scene for the discovery and exploration of the Zoo and its wildlife. It will showcase the Zoo’s role in community education and Australian and international conservation.” The redevelopment of the Zoo’s front entrance and Visitor Plaza sees the NSW Government investing $5.478 million in the region’s largest tourist attraction. The project is currently benefiting the Dubbo economy, through the creation of over 100 jobs including up to three Indigenous Traineeships through the Indigenous Participation Scheme with local contractor David Payne Constructions. The project is on track and expected to be complete in late 2010. The redevelopment of the Zoo’s front entrance is supported by the NSW Government in partnership with the Taronga Conservation Society Australia. Throughout the construction period the Zoo is open as normal from 9am to 4pm with the Zoo Shop, food and beverage and Visitor Information available from a temporary location.