Federal OK for Ella Bay resort
THE developer of a $1.4 billion mega-resort planned for south of Innisfail is one step closer to fulfilling his dream of building a paradise eco-estate.
Brisbane entrepreneur Rod Lamb yesterday was informed by The Cairns Post that Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke had given the green light to his Ella Bay project, touted as Queensland's biggest-ever tourism development.
The approval is subject to 19 strict conditions which were imposed to reduce the resort's impact on the surrounding environment, which includes Wet Tropics rainforest, the Great Barrier Reef and cassowary habitats.
"All in all, I was quite pleased," Mr Lamb said.
"This (federal approval) is a pat on the back for us.
"It shows we've ticked all the boxes and we're doing the right things because we've put a lot of effort into our environment work."
The 450ha development, which received State Government approval last month, includes three resort precincts, four residential quarters, a retail village, an 18-hole golf course and a cassowary research and education centre.
Mr Lamb said the application would now go before the Cassowary Coast Regional Council for assessment, a process which could take up to a year.
The conditions include design measures to include open spaces, stringent water treatment and management and buffers to the Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage Area, on-site habitat conservation and rehabilitation and the transfer of land to Queensland National Parks.
Vegetation corridors have been established and expanded and a protective fencing system has been installed to protect cassowaries.
"With these conditions in place, I am satisfied that this project can go ahead without unacceptable impacts on matters protected under national environmental law, including World Heritage properties and listed threatened species and communities," Mr Burke said.
The development is expected to take 15 years to completely build, employing as many as 400 people at peak activity.
It will generate more than 800 full-time and 240 part-time jobs. State Environment Minister Andrew Powell welcomed the approval.
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