Work has commenced on an economic and social impact study into the Wildlife Arts Museum of Australia project in Halls Gap.
Wildlife Arts Museum of Australia director and impact study coordinator, Richard Watson, said the contract had been awarded to Rachel Donovan of Insight Communications, to undertake the $50,000 impact study. Insight Communications specialises in tourism and community development.
"We are confident in the feasibility of the project. This study will document all the benefits that the museum and its associated works will have to the region."
The study will be funded through $25,000 from Regional Development Victoria, $5000 from the Northern Grampians Shire Council and the WAMA Foundation, with the remainder of the $50,000 being made up from in-kind contributions.
"We certainly believe this will be money well spent in the region," Mr Watson said.
The economic and social impact study is due to be completed by the end of July. It is hoped the completed study will be presented personally to Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development, Peter Ryan, during a ceremony at the WAMA site in August.
The formal presentation will coincide with the unveiling of a number of key developments at the site, including a magnificent sculpture by Landsborough's Kevin Free.
Mr Watson said WAMA was excited by the outcomes that will be delivered as a result of the impact study.
"The research will draw comparisons with the level of impact this project can have on the region," Mr Watson said.
"We understand the potential is for this to have the same impact on this region, as the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery had on Tasmania.
"The study will look at the benefits that will flow as a result of this project, over the next five years and beyond."
Mr Watson said students from the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Melbourne had offered their support to the concept by agreeing in December, 2012 to come up with a series of proposed architectural designs for the WAMA Museum and Gallery.
As a result of their commitment to the project, Mr Watson said students were hoping to be able to present their final concept plans privately in Melbourne at the end of this month.
Mr Watson said a number of designs would be presented for consideration and one would be selected from those.
WAMA members commenced rehabilitation work at the site in May, with the first plantout being conducted.
This site rehabilitation followed on from extensive rabbit eradication, weed and fire hazard removal.
Mr Watson said the first planting was a significant milestone.
"The plantout really shows the community not only locally, but from surrounding regions, that things are happening at the site."