Last-minute venue hurdles, two-day travel journeys and 38 degree temperatures have been just some of the challenges in delivering a conference in remote Western Australia.
Taking place in far-flung Kununurra – where the local population is 5,400 and the distance from the state capital is more than 3,300km – Sydney-based PCO Arinex was put to the test for the Australian National Committee on Large Dams Incorporated (ANCOLD) 2018 Forum.
The committee chose Kununurra for this year’s forum, taking place on 16-17 April, because of its proximity to Lake Argyle (pictured) which boasts one of the largest dams in Western Australia.
Arinex senior project coordinator Alessandra Damant described working on the event as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“It has certainly been a challenge given the remoteness of the location, but personally, in terms of professional development, it has been great. Plus, how often do you get an opportunity to experience Australia’s stunning outback?” she said.
Damant said finding an appropriate venue in Kununurra was a challenge in itself given the limited number of venue options, but just as challenging was encouraging delegates to make the long trip out there. The team also overcame a major hurdle just days before the conference, when the venue lessee was suddenly evicted, and had to work quickly with the venue owners to ensure the forum could go ahead.
“There have been some challenges, particularly in the last few days, but nothing we couldn’t handle,” she said.
“Travel logistics, for example, were difficult given the limited number of weekly flights. From Queensland, delegates spent an overnight stop in Darwin before flying out the following day. From Perth, it’s a 33-hour drive.
“The venue troubles over the last few have also kept us on our toes. But we’ve come through it without any disruption to the event and the forum kicked off smoothly yesterday with the conference and cocktail reception.”
On the second day, Arinex will deliver a post-forum tour which will take delegates to two dams and includes a boat trip down the Kununurra river. As part of the tour delegates are given exclusive access to the hydro plant – an opportunity not usually available to the general public.
This is the fourth ANCOLD Forum Arinex has managed, with last year’s event taking place at Jindabyne. The forum rotates to a different state each year.