- Wednesday, 01 August 2012 12:03
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The Great Keppel Island Revitalisation plan is now a big step closer to achieving its end goal of building a world class eco-tourism resort on the island just off Queensland's Capricorn Coast.
Queensland's coordinator general, has just released the Environmental Impact Statement, of the proposed development, for public comment.
The proposed development is a $600 million low-rise, eco-tourism resort to be constructed over a 12 year period. The first stage includes a 250-suite hotel at Fisherman's Beach with restaurants and conference facilities, as well as a 250-berth marina at Putney Beach, with 150 apartments and a ferry terminal. Later stages will include 750 villas, 300 apartments and a golf course. Visitors will be able to fly to its private airstrip from Brisbane, Sydney and Cairns.
Chairman of Capricorn Enterprise Grant Cassidy, said, "Great Keppel Island is an iconic Australian destination and this development is a critical step in helping to achieve the goals set by state government and the tourism industry at its recent DestinationQ forum. When the original resort on Great Keppel Island closed over four years ago, the Capricorn region's visitation dropped by approximately 200,000 visitors per year. Local business operators want to see the island returned to its former glory and it is critical that this happens not only from a local tourism perspective but also for the whole of state tourism portfolio".
The first stage of the development is the establishment of a new 250 suite hotel on the old resort site, with accompanying restaurants and conference facilities. This resort proposal will ensure about 40% of the island (575ha), would be an environmental protection area to be rehabilitated and protected in perpetuity.
Mary Carroll, CEO of Capricorn Enterprise said, "This is an extremely exciting day for tourism, not just in our Capricorn Coast and Southern Great Barrier Reef region, but the entire state. The Great Keppel Island revitalisation has been one of our organisation's seven priority projects for the past two years and I say bravo to Tower Holdings for having the commitment and perseverance to get this major project to this point".
Ms Carroll said, "I urge anyone who wants to see this development happen to submit their views during the next 30 days because it is critical that if we and the broader business community want a resort on Great Keppel Island, they must voice their support".
The GKI Revitalisation Plan will only go ahead if the current Environmental Impact Statement is approved.
The developers have dramatically downsized their plan, slashing $2 billion off the project in a bid to finally secure government approval after two rejections.
Tower Holdings' environmental impact statement was released for public comment nearly seven years after the company bought the Great Barrier Reef site off Yeppoon in central Queensland for $16 million.
Tower's Anthony Aiossa said, "This is a real test . . . if the country wants a new tourism product in the reef or not."
Tower's original $2.6 billion plan that included three hotels and 1200 resort apartments was rejected by the state government in 2006. A scaled-back proposal was turned down by the federal government in 2009.