Tower group's happy but there are doubts

TOWER Holdings says it's been pleased with the local reaction to its revised development plans for Great Keppel Island.

But there were signs this week that some influential community leaders could be about to spoil all that.

Former Livingstone Mayor Bill Ludwig, a fierce critic of the way Tower closed its island resort without warning, had kept his powder dry on the new proposals, launched by Tower earlier this month.

But during a Rockhampton Regional Council briefing on the influence councillors might wield over the fate of the $1.15 billion project, he quietly dropped a bombshell.

“I would like to see Tower get on with the resort because the plan looks to me like a smokescreen for a real estate development.” he said.

And his interpretation of the proposal to build hundreds of luxury villas around a Greg Norman-designed championship golf course on the island, was supported by Deputy Mayor Rose Swadling.

Cr Ludwig said he thought Tower had to battle a huge credibility gap because of the way it had abandoned the resort.

“My understanding is that the company is in breach of its lease if it is not running a resort,” he said.

“I would also like to know how it can conduct a residential subdivision on leased land. What will the rating system be?” he said.

Cr Ludwig said when the council got round to discussing its position on the proposal - described by Tower as the largest tourism development ever seen in Australia - it should demand that no homes can be built until hotels are up and running.

Other councillors were equally questioning.

Cr Cherie Rutherford asked how much an environmental impact study could be trusted when it was paid for and produced by the applicant.

Mayor Brad Carter said the EIS would be prepared by professional consultants who would want to protect their reputation and credibility. And he had no concerns because the Queensland Co-ordinator Generalwas an expert at assessing.

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