Deal paves way for $35m water park in Far North
DEVELOPER Paul Freebody says it is "full steam ahead" to start construction in July of his ambitious $35 million water theme park.
Mr Freebody, chief executive of Adventure Waters, is relieved the project will go ahead after an agreement was reached in court yesterday with Mulgrave Central Mill, which lodged an appeal against the development in January.
"We're obviously very relieved, probably a little disappointed it's taken so long to go through the appeal process," he said.
"We're hopeful we can start some construction in July, which is wonderful news."
The water park, on a 7ha site fronting the Captain Cook Highway at Smithfield, is expected to employ more than 300 people during construction.
Another 200 staff will be employed in the operation of Adventure Waters, which will feature water slides, a surf simulator and lagoon-like pools.
Mr Freebody said the park will have many benefits.
"It's good for the community because we need a bit of a shot in the arm in relation to tourism, in relation to employment and in relation to construction," he said.
"It's a shame it didn't come earlier, but it has come now."
Cairns Deputy Mayor Margaret Cochrane, whose division includes the water park site, said it was "fabulous news".
"I've been supportive of this project all along," she said. "It's great news for Cairns, it's great news for our community, as well as for the project owner."
Months of legal wrangling threatened to derail the water park but yesterday afternoon, Judge Bill Everson endorsed an agreement reached between the two parties in the Planning and Development Court.
The project will now go to Cairns Regional Council, which approved the park in October, for an operational works application.
Although Mr Freebody called it a "hard fought victory", the water park has agreed to tighter conditions to appease the sugarcane industry’s concerns about parking, vehicle traffic and flooding.
Mill general manager Peter Flanders said the increased availability of parking on site meant there will be less likelihood of vehicles coming into contact with cane vehicles on Dillon Rd.
And modifications to the park's design will "significantly reduce" the impact of floods, he said.
"I believe it is a manageable outcome for all the parties concerned," he said.
"If all of these procedures are followed, it should maintain safety for both the public and cane industry personnel."
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Success: Developer Paul Freebody celebrates the decision which clears the way for his $35 million water theme park Picture: CHRIS HYDE
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