More twists and turns for the GKI resort redevelopment saga
AS THE deadline for action by Tower Holdings on their Great Keppel Island resort nears, fresh details on the demolition works have emerged.
It is understood that Tower has lodged an application through consulting firm CQG for a development permit for the demolition work on Lot 8 of GKI with the private certifier Rockhampton Building Approvals.
It is unclear which contractor(s) have been given the responsibility of doing the demolition work, or a start time for the works, but it was expected to be complicated by the removal, handling and disposal of asbestos.
Once work commences, the area falls under the jurisdiction of Workplace Health and Safety Queensland who would oversee the asbestos management. A source advised that a barge had been hired out of Gladstone that would be arriving at GKI next week to transport equipment to the island and demolished materials to the mainland.
On Thursday, the Federal Government's Department of Environment and Energy allowed a variation to a condition attached to Tower Holdings' approval granting them an extension until 2021 to take action on the construction and operation of a tourism and marina development on GKI.
Despite this extra latitude provided by the Federal Government, Keppel MP Brittany Lauga said the State Government remains steadfast applying pressure on Tower to get to work on the demolition works and pay their rental arrears before their April 30 deadline.
"Well unlike the Queensland Government, it appears the Federal Government is only interested in giving more extensions of time to Tower Holdings," Mrs Lauga said.
"Tower Holdings closed the resort 10 years ago and has had a number of extensions granted already.
"The Palaszczuk Government has been very clear that Tower has had long enough and that's why we are requiring them to start demolition or the State Government will commence the resumption of the full suite of leases on the island."
She said her government was not interested in giving more extensions to Tower and was ready to see action.
A spokesperson for the GKI Alliance, an organisation of local people, traditional owners and their supporters, who have battled for the past decade against Tower Holdings' proposals, agreed with Mrs Lauga.
"We understand the politicians need to show the community that there is at last going to be some action on the island but is it the best way forward to allow the developer to rush a demolition just in order to save his leases, particularly if it means putting the livelihoods of those businesses who have been able to restructure themselves and rebuild the tourism industry that was destroyed by this developer, not to mention throwing the residential property owners lives into disarray with no guarantee of an ongoing re-development?" the spokesperson said.
"As a community we are concerned that the infrastructure, remaining on the old commercial footprint which is now being threatened by the proposed demolition, may well be an asset to an incoming developer with less grandiose ideas and in any case the resort buildings are more stable remaining as they are until actual building works can start.
"By his own admission, Mr Agnew's company does not have the financial resources in place to proceed immediately with the redevelopment as per the requirements of the EIS that his company submitted to all three levels of government in order to gain the preliminary approvals they now hold.
"If the current developer cannot then meet the requirements of the Queensland Government timeline for demolition that is the consequences Mr Agnew will have to pay for not keeping his development to the time lines he promised all levels of government would happen when he purchased the leases on GKI over a decade ago."
CQG Consulting and Tower Holdings didn't provide comment.