Councillors to vote on GKI infrastructure plans
Livingstone Shire councillors will on Tuesday vote on what infrastructure to officially recommend the State Government build on Great Keppel Island.
The choice is between the council’s own five-year plan, given to the Department of Tourism in January, or works aligned with Altum Property Group’s resort development.
Material action is, however, entirely the State Government’s prerogative - Altum still requires its finances to be approved by Deloitte, which was commissioned by the Natural Resources Department for a Financial and Managerial Capability Assessment; then, the government would need to transfer Tower Holdings’ leases to Altum before the developer’s own work could begin.
Altum construction director Rob McCready was in Rockhampton on Monday to promote his preferences, comprising the first and second stages of Altum’s resort, 65 per cent of which the state’s spending would cover.
“This will be the most important decision that council makes in relation to the future of Great Keppel Island,” Mr McCready said.
“Are they going to say, ‘Yes, we want this to happen,’ and tell the State Government that we need to prioritise the transport infrastructure, being the breakwall, barge ramp, and ferry terminal to Great Keppel Island, which will facilitate not only significantly better visitor experience and tourism opportunities for the region, but also it will facilitate the project.
“What we don’t want to do is see a gradual erosion of the money that’s there – of the $30 million that’s been committed.”
He said the government would own the infrastructure.
Livingstone Shire Mayor Andy Ireland said that Tuesday’s vote was about public infrastructure and not a referendum on the proposed resort, which was “outside the purview of council”.
“The meeting tomorrow is not a decision related to whether the development goes ahead or not,” he said.
“Council may be required as an assessor to assess some of the development on the island, in terms of structures, infrastructure, that sort of thing.
“But in terms of whether the lease progresses and transfers, that’s a matter between the state and the developer.
“It’s a state-owned island and the council has no jurisdiction over there.”
The council’s initial list of infrastructure was drafted at the request of the Tourism Department, which asked for council input on the assumption that whether or not Altum’s resort were approved, there might be a three to five-year gap before any infrastructure were erected.
The GKI Progress Association, with which Altum is involved, then requested the council instead put its weight behind Altum’s plans.
“All council has been asked to do by the GKI Progress Association is to provide a letter of support for what Altum is proposing with $30 million stumped up by the government should be spent on,” Cr Ireland said.
“My assumption is they would like to make it part of some further submission to the state.”
“It’s been a huge response. It’s certainly been a very polarised response: people are either for or against it – there’s no in-between.”
Mr McCready also said that Altum’s financier or financiers were not the same ones used for the company’s Parkridge Noosa development, but did not name them.
He added: “We don’t have a price list yet for the units, and a lot of that really is more detailed work that has to happen.
“Of course, a lot of the planning for the project can’t proceed until we have the finance side of it tied up.”