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Manly Sea Life Sanctuary closes; speculation mounts over future of the site

February 6th, 2018 | | industry

What next for this prime tourism site? Opening as an aquarium – it was then only the seventh of its kind in the world. Variously named Marineland, Oceanworld, Underwater World or Manly Oceanarium, before being adopted as Manly Sea Life Sanctuary in mid-2012 under the new owners Merlin Entertainments Group.  Then, in March 2017, that company announced that the building was no longer feasible to maintain as an aquarium due to the projected maintenance required to keep the site up and running.

The site itself is owned by the Roads and Maritime Service and is considered a prime piece of real estate, as it sitting right off the shore of Manly Cove. An RMS spokesperson said the service has “been approached by several parties with an interest in taking on the site once the aquarium departs the site this year,” and that it would be looking for expressions of interest for the lease of the site “in accordance with the current zoning.”

“RMS will go to market to determine the possible future use of the site, which is zoned W2, in the first half of this year.” Under this current zoning the site is solely limited to boats sheds, kiosks, function centres, water recreation structures and marinas. This would rule out the possibility of residential property replacing the aquarium at the current time.

Northern Beaches Council Acting CEO David Kerr said there are “no plans to change the zoning of this property.” “If an application was lodged to change the zoning, Council is required by legislation to consider the application. Any application to change the zoning would be a matter for the elected Council to consider and determine.”

Source: Sydney Morning Herald