Green groups battle Ella Bay resort development
Taking it all in: An artist's impression of the new Satori Ella Bay resort development. Picture: SUPPLIED.
ENVIRONMENTAL groups from Cairns to Hinchinbrook have damned the Queensland Government for approving a $1.4 billion residential and tourism development at Ella Bay yesterday.
Cairns and Far North Environment Centre co-ordinator Anna McGuire said it was a "sad day" for an area that had significant ecological value.
"This site is completely surrounded by the World Heritage-listed Wet Tropics and the Great Barrier Reef, and is adjacent to nationally endangered littoral rainforest protected under federal legislation," she said.
"This site is definitely not appropriate for a development of this scale and the best use for this land is for low impact recreational and cultural use, not more urban sprawl."
Ms McGuire said the large numbers of people visiting and living on the site would degrade the natural and cultural values of the area.
Alliance to Save Hinchinbrook campaigner Margaret Moorhouse said the "horrific" development would devastate the cassowary population.
"It cuts a huge chunk right out of the middle of national park and it's all cassowary territory," she said.
"That's only the start of it. To bring in the numbers they're proposing will pose a huge infrastructure problem."
Mission Beach local and conservationist Liz Gallie said the project would end up fragmenting the landscape.
"This is one of the worst developments you could have," she said.
"I'm sure conservationists will be very vocal about this decision, and we will be waiting with bated breath to see what the Federal Government decides."
Wildlife Queensland executive director Des Boyland said the Federal Government had raised concerns about the project five years ago and nothing had changed since.
"It makes you wonder if the environmental concerns have been adequately addressed and if this is merely another political interplay between the state and federal governments so the Federal Government can be accused of holding up development," he said.
Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke said his assessment would be thorough in the 30 business days in which he had to make a decision.
It would focus on the Wet Tropics, Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Areas, cassowary and common mist frog.