Homestead may be restored
TOWER Holdings has defended its care of Great Keppel Island’s only heritage-listed building and committed to restore the derelict Leeke’s Homestead as part of its revised plans for tourism on the island.
Anthony Aiossa, Tower’s development manager, has also revealed that the latest proposals, which are nearing completion, include the re-opening of the underwater observatory and the establishment of a specialised environmental research centre.
“Our plan is that all visitors can gain a better appreciation of the island’s history and environment,” he said.
Concerns have been raised about the condition of the homestead, which was built in the early 1920s as a home for Lizzie Leeke who ran sheep on the island until 1945.
Under the terms of the lease Tower has a responsibility to maintain the structure, which has been in poor condition since long before the company acquired the Great Keppel Island Resort.
Mr Aiossa said the building was inspected regularly by a caretaker and was locked to maintain its security. He rejected complaints that the company had allowed it to deteriorate further in the three years it had held the Lot 21 lease.
No-one had raised concerns with the company, he said, but Tower was happy to discuss any fears people had that the homestead was in danger of collapse or that it was under threat from water leaks or termites.
He confirmed yesterday that the new plan for a tourism resort on the island would be significantly scaled back from the previous two which had been rejected on environmental grounds.
It would include “a major commitment to the use of renewable energy, in particular the use of solar power”.
Mr Aiossa said: “We are currently working on a range of initiatives that can be incorporated into the project to ensure it not only has an absolute minimal environmental impact, but to ensure it can have a positive impact on the island and the surrounding marine waters. The revised plan will seek to bridge the divide between sustainable tourism development and appropriate conservation.
“In order to achieve this, we as developers and the conservationists need to align ourselves rather than stand on opposite sides of the fence.”