Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett.
Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett. henningthomsen.files.wordpress.com

'Great Keppel Island will die'

GREAT Keppel Island is likely to die as a tourist attraction in the wake of Peter Garrett’s decision to torpedo Tower Holdings’ latest resort plans.

Max Allen, whose family has owned and operated the Freedom Fast Cats ferry service to the island from Rosslyn Bay for 11 years, said yesterday he was likely to shut down his business and leave the area, taking his multi-million-dollar investment with him.

And without ferries, Gerry Christie, the owner of the island’s gourmet pizza restaurant, says it would only be a matter of time before the tourism infrastructure crumbled and the island returned to wilderness.

Mr Allen said he would continue to operate in the run-up to Christmas, but unless there was a spectacular Federal Government back-flip, he would most likely take his boats from the region.

“I won’t put my business up for sale because it will be un-saleable. We have made a massive investment here, and since the old resort closed I have borrowed heavily to keep running,” he said.

“The only people who will be able to get to the island will be those with their own boats. But will they want to go? There won’t be anything there for them.”

Mr Allen said he believed the island was already “going to rack and ruin”.

He said he thought that after spending a fortune on the proposals Tower Holdings deserved the courtesy of a full investigation of the plans.

“We are absolutely shell-shocked at the unfairness of it all. I think it is absolutely incredible that Mr Garrett can make this decision without ever setting foot on the island.”

Mr Christie said that in the short term his business would probably survive on weekend trade.

“It will be a tough call. But if you ask me what is likely to be here in 10 years, I would have to say the most likely answer is absolutely nothing.”

There have been calls for business leaders to unite to demand Mr Garrett reconsider.
Garrett torpedoes $1.14b GKI resort
Garrett wrecks GKI plan

The Great Keppel Island saga...
April 9, 2009: Tower's GKI dream is still alive
May 7, 2009: Bligh shows caution over Great Keppel proposal
May 9, 2009: Great Keppel plans revealed
May 22, 2009: Tower sparks Keppel hopes
September 4, 2009: Keppel folk say develop
September 4, 2009: Terry wants to change things on Keppel
September 5, 2009: 'Our GKI - 1800 jobs and $145 million per year'
September 7, 2009: Tower calls for community support
September 21, 2009: GKI reno could be cash boon for council
October 20, 2009: Rally protests GKI plan

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