THOUSANDS of jobs have been promised to the Shoalhaven as a result of the Shaolin temple project.
Plans that went on public exhibition this week included suggestions about 1000 people would be employed to build the project’s many facilities including a temple, replicating the original temple in China’s Henan province.
Even more jobs are expected to be created once construction has finished, with about 1300 positions catering for a predicted 150,000 visitors a year.
In addition, the socio-economic report has predicted major changes to the Shoalhaven’s community demographics and socio-economic profile as a result of the development.
“The development will economically benefit the region by providing jobs and attracting tourism, industry and business,” said consultants Conybeare Morrison.
“The development has the potential to host a number of significant cultural events and festivals that will help define the Shoalhaven region as a tourist destination as well as acknowledge the cultural diversity within the region.
“In addition to the growth in permanent residents that the development will foster due to its housing options, the development will also generate considerable tourist population,” the report said.
It also suggested the development would help attract younger people to the region, balancing the Shoalhaven’s ageing population, and also attract people who were better educated and had higher incomes.
The plan promised, “The Shaolin culture will extend to all parts of the [tourist and residential] development.”
However it said there would also be a focus on the local indigenous population.
“Facilities and activities within the development will promote indigenous and event tourism, with the ability to offer a dedicated venue to develop, present and integrate indigenous culture into its tourism attractions and events,” the report said.
“Its festivals and cultural events will draw tourists into the Shoalhaven and contribute to developing signature events for the Shoalhaven.”
The assessment of impacts on the Shoalhaven predicted the first Shaolin temple built outside China, “will be the spiritual destination of pilgrimage of the Shaolin temple followers to visit the place, as well as attract martial arts lovers from around the world”.
While the application paints an overwhelmingly positive picture for the temple’s impact on the Shoalhaven, the plans have faced slow progress through the state government’s approvals process since being put forward seven years ago.
Even the month-long public exhibition of the environment assessment report is expected to be just another step in a long path towards the project being finalised.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.