Bendigo’s majestic Great Stupa of Universal Compassion will progress towards an important landmark in construction thanks to a $2.5 million grant. Minister for Regional Development, Jaala Pulford joined Member for Bendigo, West Maree Edwards and Member for Bendigo East, Jacinta Allan in announcing the funding today while visiting the Great Stupa, cementing Bendigo’s position as an international travel destination and a place of multi-faith expression.
Stupa chairman Ian Green said the funding would go towards the structure’s completion, with the next phase of works due to be finished by the time the stupa’s four-tonne jade Buddha takes permanent pride of place within the building’s walls in May next year.
“On that occasion we’ll have a jade Buddha festival which will be combined with the Great Stupa Festival of Light,” he said.
“There will be people coming from every temple, every city the [jade] Buddha has visited around the world, they’ll come here to join in the festivities and the celebrations for that, so that three or four days itself will be an enormous event.”
Mr Green said his organisation would now have to match the $2.5 million, with the stupa expected to be fully completed within about four years, and work also to begin on infrastructure requirements such as sewerage and electricity.
Tourists have been flocking to the monument since it opened to visitors in 2012. It attracts more than 25,000 visitors annually and numbers are projected to exceed 90,000 per year within 10 years.
The Labor Government is investing in the $5 million project to complete construction of the Great Stupa and deliver essential services for visitors.
The project will be delivered in two stages which will include the completion of the outstanding structural works, including the spire and parasol, as well as the installation of water and waste utilities to support the growing visitor numbers.
Construction of Stage 1 is due to be complete in mid-2018, in time for the international festival and installation of the Jade Buddha inside the Great Stupa – a globally recognised event that will attract thousands of visitors to Bendigo.
Importantly, the Great Stupa promotes social cohesion by encouraging awareness and support of cultural diversity, in addition to the many economic benefits it brings to Bendigo as a tourist attraction.
The funding is being provided by the Labor Government’s flagship Regional Tourism and Infrastructure Fund.
The Jade Buddha will be installed in the Great Stupa of Compassion when construction is complete.
More information on the Great Stupa of Compassion found here