Coast businesses hope for new GKI Resort redevelopment
ELEVEN years after the closing of Great Keppel Island Resort in February 2008, another player has entered the game to purchase the lease to redevelop the once popular resort - and locals are hoping this one is a stayer.
Pat O’Driscoll from Knight Frank Rockhampton/Capricorn Coast is leading the sales process along with negotiations between the State Government, current owners Tower Holdings and Sunshine Coast developer Altum Property Group, who hopes to be the new owner of the eagerly anticipated Great Keppel Island Resort Development.
Yeppoon Business Owner Karen Neale said she was not ready to get excited about the news after being left disappointed too many times by news of the GKI Resort redevelopment but she would like to see it go ahead sooner rather than later.
“This time it is at least an Australian company which is a positive but honestly, I will believe it when it actually happens,” Ms Neale said.
“The other accommodation on Great Keppel Island such as GKI Holiday Village and The Hideaway along with rental homes and other businesses have continued to operate successfully throughout the last 11 years since the resort closed its doors, despite some truly poor media coverage making people think the entire island was closed rather than just the resort.
“Some of them have really struggled as people came to grips with the fact that we do still have some great accommodation and services on the island that never closed their doors.
“The resort was a fantastic destination in its day. Let’s hope it will be again. Economically, it would be a huge boon for the region and would create employment opportunities for our young people.”
Ms Neale said while she was sceptical of the news of a new player, she would love to see the redevelopment actually happen. She said that in the meantime, the current lessees, Tower Holdings, should be made to continue with demolishing the old buildings and cleaning the entire area up.
“The former resort area should be cleaned up and beautification works done to bring it back to an acceptable level in keeping with the natural beauty of what we have on the rest of the island,” she said.
Great Keppel Island Holiday Village owner Geoff Mercer said he would love to see any new owners develop a good working relationship with the operators who already had established businesses on the island.
“I also sincerely hope their care for the environmental is an absolute priority,” Mr Mercer said.
“Great Keppel Island is one of the most stunning islands on the East Coast. I hope they understand it is a place of beauty, a place of peace and the many ways that it can be enjoyed.
“I have physically seen the Altum Property Group’s latest development, Parkridge Noosa, and it is impressive. I hope the group have the environmental conscience to take Great Keppel Island to a whole new level of hospitality.”
The approved development includes a new beachfront hotel, luxury apartments, luxury villas, retail shops, a marina, and a new airstrip to allow greater visitor access and direct flights from Sydney, Brisbane and Cairns.
Altum Property Group’s purchase of the leasehold land on Great Keppel Island from Tower Holdings is conditional upon successful negotiations with the Queensland Government.