RESIDENTS are being encouraged to give their views on plans for the ambitious Jurassica visitor attraction when they are discussed at a public meeting next month.
The proposed subterranean geological tourist attraction, estimated to cost upwards of £60m, is earmarked for the old Yeolands Quarry on Portland.
At the meeting, visitors will be able to view a collection of drawings, visuals and a video of the proposed site, as well as potentially being able to see 3D models.
Science journalist Michael Hanlon, chief executive of Jurassica, said: “I am fully aware that expectations are high, much speculation is in the air and that also, as yet, work has not commenced to build this extraordinary vision. This is a chance to say what has and has not been achieved, and what you can expect to see happening in the near future.
“We do not want an easy ride; far from it. Scepticism is healthy, difficult questions are the best ones to be asked. We want to hear what you have to say. This is your island, not mine, and above all else I want Jurassica to make Portland a better place.”
Visitors to the park could see fossilised dinosaurs, marine reptiles and plants, alongside robotic plesiosaurus and animatronics that will swim in a real aquarium.
Described as being a third of the size of the Millennium Dome, Jurassica would be 35m deep, 100m wide and covered in a translucent domed glass and steel ‘web-like’ roof.
The project was awarded charitable status earlier this year and has reportedly gathered support from over 60 Dorset businesses as well as Sir David Attenborough.
Dorset County Council estimates the attraction could generate around £7m annually for the local economy.
If approved, construction of the site is expected to be completed by 2019 at the earliest.
Mr Hanlon said: “We will award contracts, where possible and where the law allows, to local suppliers and to train local people – and we know this is an area of very high unemployment – to do the highly-skilled work that running a major tourist attraction involves. We will need cooks and cleaners, engineers and technicians, public relations officers, marketing experts, curators, managers and scientists.”
Everyone is welcome to the Jurassica community presentation which is on July 14 at 7pm at Girt Hall, in the St George’s Centre, Portland.