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Great Keppel Island sale to prompt renewed resort development plans
A Sunshine Coast developer is planning to build a multi-million-dollar hotel and marina on Queensland’s Great Keppel Island following a reported deal to purchase a 160-hectare lease on the Island.
Altum Constructions has reportedly agreed to buy the lease from owner Tower Holdings, aiming to acquire development consents attached to the land.
With the Queensland Government having previously committed to deliver water and power, and now a fibre optic cable, to the resort development, the sale comes after Altum’s reported unsuccessful bid for Dunk Island in Far North Queensland.
Located at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef, Great Keppel has languished on the market for more than 10 years since Tower Holdings closed the resort a decade ago.
Speaking to the Sunshine Coast Daily, Altum Construction Director Rob McCready said Great Keppel was “the best island off Queensland with the best beaches and a fantastic climate with half the rainfall of the northern Great Barrier Reef."
He added "it is critical tourism infrastructure. In the past decade there has been a 50% increase in tourism to Queensland but only a 12 to 13% increase in Central Queensland."
A 250-room beachfront hotel, 300 luxury apartments, 285 luxury villas, 9,000 metre² of retail shops and a 250-berth marina have development approval on the island, while approval has also been given for the airstrip to be extended from 800 metres to 1.5 kilometres to allow greater visitor access and direct flights from Sydney, Brisbane and Cairns.
The sale follows a previous $50 million deal from a Chinese backed developer having fallen through.
However, a group in favour of sustainable development on the Island, the Great Keppel Island Alliance Ya Nga, have questioned whether Altum can meet the Queensland Government's requirement for any successful transferee of the leases to have the expertise to develop the resort, as Altum no background in tourism
It is also understood that parties have failed to consult Native Title owners.
Alliance spokesperson Michael Powell advised that the Alliance has concerns over potential residential development of a key area of the Island, Lot 21, an area of land formerly zoned for recreation but now zoned as residential.
He also emphasised that the Queensland Government's promise to spend $32 million on delivering power and water to Island is unnecessary given the Island is currently self-sufficient in electricity and water and previous consents for development of the new resort had been for it to also be self-sufficient.
Great Keppel Island’s resort was a famed party destination in the 1990s, known for its slogan 'Get Wrecked on Keppel'.
Article amended 9th October 2019 to reflect input from the Great Keppel Island Alliance Ya Nga.
23rd September 2019 - Sale of Far North Queensland’s Dunk Island a prelude to resort refurbishment
16th August 2019 - Hayman Island regeneration heralds ‘new era’ for Whitsundays
9th July 2019 - Abandoned Whitsundays resorts ‘left to rot’
15th April 2019 - Daydream Island soft opening to boost Whitsunday tourism industry
16th August 2018 - Demolition of decaying Great Keppel Island resort completed
29th July 2018 - Queensland Government commits $48 million in tourism funding
5th April 2018 - Keppel Cove golf resort sold to Chinese investor
9th February 2018 - First meeting of Beyond Tourism 2020 Steering Committee
30th June 2014 - Environmental concerns over Great Keppel Island resort
3rd August 2012 - Great Keppel Island proposal boosts confidence in Queensland tourism
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