Island campground edges closer

Headshot of Tom Zaunmayr
Tom ZaunmayrPilbara News
Email Tom Zaunmayr
East Lewis Island. Pic. Iain Gillespie.
Camera IconEast Lewis Island. Pic. Iain Gillespie. Credit: WA News

A long-held aspiration to introduce accommodation on the Dampier Archipelago is moving forward as stakeholders push to use the natural beauty of the islands to boost the Pilbara’s tourism stocks.

The City of Karratha will seek in-principle support from the Department of Parks and Wildlife to build a campground on the islands, with a preference for the northern side of East Lewis Island.

The site would either be a standard camping area or glamping-style accommodation.

A Department of Parks and Wildlife spokeswoman said a formal application was yet to be received but the department was providing advice to the City about camping opportunities.

“East Lewis, West Lewis and Malus islands are all designated for the purpose of conservation and recreation and could support camping accommodation, subject to environmental assessments and other criteria,” she said.

While a campground could stay open all year, a glamping set-up would likely have to be ta-ken down over the wet season, as is the case with the safari-style tents at Sal Salis on the Ningaloo Coast and Kooljaman at Cape Leveque.

City of Karratha Mayor Peter Long said a campground would improve accessibility for visi-tors and locals. “If the Department of Parks and Wildlife supports the site, we will consult with traditional owners, Pilbara Port Authority, environmental agencies, approval authorities and the local community and develop up a business case for the project,” he said.

“We locals know how fantastic our islands are, and having a camping ground out there may help to make them accessible to visitors and locals alike.”

Mr Long said camping on the island could open up further opportunities for other tourism businesses, including water sports operators.

The DPaW spokeswoman also noted approval of 21-year leases for 32 shacks on the islands managed by the Dampier Archipelago Recreational Dwellers Association, and one shack managed by the King Bay Game Fishing Club.

She said residents could use the shacks by registering their interest with the association and the club.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails