QYAC Point Lookout whale centre on track for 2021 completion after state gives planning approval

WHALE ON THE HILL: QYAC released concept images of the whale centre last year.
WHALE ON THE HILL: QYAC released concept images of the whale centre last year.

THE state government has given planning approval for a controversial whale watching shelter and research centre at the Point Lookout headland.

Planning Minister Cameron Dick last week made the Infrastructure Designation finalising the approval processes for educational tourism and research project Yalingbila Bibula (the whale on the hill).

The centre is on track for completion before the 2021 whale watching season, and will feature a 15 metre whale skeleton washed ashore in 2011.

It comes after a group posted a fake human skeleton at the site earlier this year in protest of the centre, saying whales were sacred and the bones should not be displayed.

The Infrastructure Designation considered 366 public submissions which included both opposition to and support for the project.

Quandmooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation chief executive Cameron Costello welcomed the planning approval, saying Yalingbila Bibula would be an important research hub for the University of Queensland.

A research pod link to a hydrophone was set to become operational at the same time the centre was completed.

"The hydrophone will create an extraordinary visitor experience, enabling whale watchers to hear the whales' songs live as they pass the Point," he said.

"The Queensland state government has committed to the Minjerribah Futures Strategy which seeks to deliver sustainable economic and employment opportunities for the wider North Stradbroke Island community."

The proposal, which Mr Costello said contributed to expanding the island's cultural tourism opportunities, is a key long-term initiative of the strategy.

"It brings construction jobs to the island and will be a boost for local tradies and businesses as the island looks for economic and employment opportunities beyond the coronavirus," Mr Costello said.