Persistence wins day for $1.4b Ella Bay resort development
DEVELOPERS of the state's largest tourism project are expected to find out in January if their $1.4 billion resort and residential community will go ahead.Yesterday the State Government gave approval for the long-delayed project to be built over a 15-year period on a 450ha cattle property at Ella Bay, near Innisfail.
Premier Campbell Newman said the Satori Ella Bay project, which will comprise three resort precincts, four residential quarters, a retail village and an 18-hole golf course, would bolster the local economy.
"The development is likely to generate $256 million per annum in expenditure by visitors staying in the region, and $50 million in State Government taxes and duties," he said.
Speaking to The Cairns Post yesterday, Satori Ella Bay director Rod Lamb said the Federal Government had 30 working days to approve the development.
"I'm elated and I've absolutely been blown away by the amount of phone calls I've had," he said.
"The local reaction has been extremely positive. It's a surreal moment because it has been going on (so long) and it has been so focused on the environmental impact."
Mr Lamb said if approved by the Federal Government, the company would lodge relevant applications with Cassowary Coast Regional Council and hand over 130ha to become designated national park.
"There are more approvals and studies left to do but after that, construction would start," he said.
"Our focus will be with the local (building) industry. There are some large contracts with the building of the road (to bypass Flying Fish Point) which will be with major Australian companies, but the local building industry will be favoured."
Queensland Master Builders regional manager Ron Bannah applauded Premier Campbell Newman's approval.
"It will certainly mean a hell of a lot for the boosting of the local building and construction industry," he said. "It's important that local builders including trade contractors and suppliers are engaged."
Mr Bannah said the embattled project had seen the developers jump over several planning, construction and environmental hurdles.
Cassowary Coast Regional Council Mayor Bill Shannon gave the development and its 38 conditions of approval a big thumbs up.
"It's very welcomed," he said.
"It's a huge proposal. It's up to the Federal Government to decide but the environmental credentials of the developers are very significant."
Cr Shannon said there would be a cassowary habitat built through the complex and the project would improve the viability of the region.
"All the comments so far have been very positive."
Innisfail region Chamber of Commerce senior vice-president Nev Smith said the development was just what Innisfail needed.
"The Chamber of Commerce is obviously very thrilled about it," he said.
"It's certainly going to boost some confidence in the area. There is going to be a lot of opportunity for residential developers and tourism (operators). The big benefit is the employment."
He said Mr Lamb's persistence with the project was now paying off.
"To have all the hurdles that he has had to go through just shows he has confidence in our shire," he said.
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Paradise: The view looking out over picturesque Ella Bay, where a $1.4 billion resort development has received State Government approval.