Sale of GKI development unleashes region's tourism potential
IT'S taken a lot of blood, sweat, tears and years but Capricorn Enterprise's Mary Carroll is finally reaping the rewards of her organisation's work for Great Keppel Island.
As the the CEO of the Capricorn Coast's peak tourism body, she has busied herself behind the scenes working with various stakeholders and developers to realise ambitious development plans for the island.
Ms Carroll said Capricorn Enterprise and local firm CQGConsulting had assisted Tower Holdings every step of the way over the past seven years through the complex approvals process until Tower made the decision this year to go to market with its existing approvals on Great Keppel Island.
She was delighted to see agreement reached this week for Tower to hand over its ambitious resort and marina development proposal to the preferred buyer, Singapore-Taiwanese company Wei Chao, but noted the sales process was yet to be finalised.
The current development approvals, which take up about 970 ha of the island's almost 1500 ha, include a 250 room beachfront hotel, 300 luxury apartments, 285 luxury villas, 9000sq m of retails shops and a 250 berth marina with the airstrip approved to be extended from the current 800 metres to 1.5km.
"Having an airstrip which can land jets directly from Brisbane, Cairns and Sydney and will be a game changer and actually provide a back up for our destination in the event of Rockhampton Airport flooding, as it can every few years, being located on a floodplain," she said.
"The next chapter in the development will be another game changer for our tourism industry," Ms Carroll said.
"The development of the entire resort is about $800million, so the construction supplies and jobs alone is significant to our region.
"There will be up to 1500 jobs for construction, then up to 300 ongoing operational jobs plus the economic benefit more broadly to our destination and Queensland."
The transfer of leases was expected to be a challenging process but Ms Carroll said she and other key stakeholders, including Knight Frank's Pat O'Driscoll had already had a very positive meeting surrounding a number of the technical aspects with Wei Chao investors Isabella and CK Wei.
"Pat O'Driscoll is currently assisting them in forming an Australian project team which will get to work on the project planning - it is hoped construction can commence at the latter end of 2019," she said.
"I look forward to assisting Isabella and CK every step of the way to see a magnificent resort project come to fruition over the next two to five years.
"They and their business partners in Taiwan have been developing major infrastructure projects, predominantly in China for the past decade, which has proved very successful for them."
She said the investors wanted to support local businesses and the local community and had a strong desire to see all existing businesses on Great Keppel Island prosper.