'Historic moment' as Council approves $85 million marina development


Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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GREEN LIGHT: “This will be the most significant investment in the Douglas Shire since the Sheraton Mirage was first built and transformed the Far North Queensland tourism." Mayor Julia Leu on the marina development.

IN a historic move, the Douglas Shire Council today conditionally approved the $85 million Reef Marina transformation and developers said the decision – made at a special council meeting – represents a major step forward.

And Douglas Shire mayor Julia Leu said this is a historic moment and the right time for this to happen.  

“This will be the most significant investment in the Douglas Shire since the Sheraton Mirage was first built and transformed the Far North Queensland tourism industry in the mid-1980s.

“The redevelopment of The Reef Marina will not only revitalise the Port Douglas waterfront, but provide significant opportunities for local tradesmen and businesses to become involved in the redevelopment, which will transform our marina into a world-class facility deserving of its magnificent location,” she said.

A delighted Andrew Hooper-Nguyen, co-owner of the Reef Marina, said there is now a great deal of work that needs to be done and he suspects there’ll be no physical activity until sometime in 2018.

“Our waterfront renewal project is one of the largest investments ever planned in Port Douglas. There are literally thousands of tasks to complete – including detailed engineering design, environmental, traffic, flooding and other studies, and further regulatory approvals – before the real work can commence on site.

“We have a big project team in place and we will push forward as fast as we can. We are also confident that we can work with Council and other stakeholders to satisfy the conditions. Today’s decision is a significant step in the right direction and we are happy with the result,” he said.

The mayor and the three councillors present at the meeting – David Carey, Michael Kerr and Roy Zammataro – all voted in favour of the conditional approval. Absentee councillor Abigail Noli’s voice of support was noted.

Hooper-Nguyen said work would be carried out in stages with the southern section of The Boardwalk, The Rainforest and 19 of the 85 luxury waterfront townhouses and apartments, to be completed first.

The development is expected to generate employment for about 320 people and create a further 300 indirect jobs during the construction period.

“In addition to boosting employment in the shire by about 5.8 per cent, Gross Regional Product is forecast to increase by 4.4 per cent. The project’s contribution over 30 years is calculated to have a nett present value of $588 million (Cummings Economics),” said Hooper-Nguyen.

Hooper-Nguyen said his organisation was in sync with Council that the entirety of the project is undertaken by a single developer. 

“Council's role is to ensure the renewal project is executed in an integrated manner which is consistent with our approval.”

Key features of the $85 million re-development include a rainforest walk connecting Macrossan Street to the Marina, waterfront residences including 80 new apartments and townhouses; and a live entertainment venue complete with stage.

Some of the conditions include:

• A Deed of Agreement with the Port Douglas Fishermen’s Association and Council;
• A Deed of Agreement with Council to undertake to continue to operate the slipway for a period of three years;
• A covenant is to be entered into to tie all proposed freehold lots restricting separate sale until such time that each individual stage of the proposed development is completed relative to that particular stage;
• A staged Operational Works Approval is required for the internal road network, nominated earthworks and water and sewer works associated with the development.

View the full conditional approval here

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