Feb 22, 2021

Crucial decisions due on $1.1b Bowen development

Crucial decisions due on $1.1b Bowen development

The Gold Coast-based developer behind the $1.1 billion Whitsunday Paradise project at Bowen says its future hangs on council proceedings this week.

Whitsunday Regional Council approved the 2000-dwelling Whitsunday Paradise project in October last year .

But developer GRW Group said three contentious remaining conditions – road widths, a planned water reservoir and new sewer pipes – were due to be determined at a council meeting on Wednesday.

These factors could significantly increase the company’s costs and make the project commercially unfeasible, it said.

A spokesman for Whitsunday Regional Council said it would not be commenting on the agenda item prior to the councillors’ decision at the meeting on Wednesday.

Agreement to spark preliminary works

GRW Group general manager Blake Thomas said the company and the council had been locked in negations in relation to the contentious conditions since the council approved the project last year.

“We had hoped that we would have been able to start preliminary works before last Christmas but the negotiations over the conditions have taken significantly longer than expected,” said Mr Thomas

“We are hopeful the council will approve fair and reasonable conditions this week and once an agreement is in place, we will release the first round of tender documents for the preliminary works.”

The first stage of the project is planned to include 200 new housing lots, an AFL field with clubhouse and a service centre with food outlets.

Mr Thomas said GRW Group would spend up to $40 million on infrastructure works required as part of the project in Stage 1, including critical improvements to the Bruce Highway and Bowen’s water and sewerage system.

“Importantly these infrastructure improvements alone will create 84 jobs and provide stimulus for further investment in Bowen and the Whitsunday region,’’ he said.

“Our studies have shown that over a 20-year period the Whitsunday Paradise project will contribute $1.129 billion to the regional economy and create 400 permanent jobs.”

When completed, Whitsunday Paradise will be a masterplanned community comprising 2000 dwellings for up to 5000 people, a commercial centre and associated sporting fields and parks.

The company lodged its applications with the State Government and the Whitsunday Regional Council for the project, earmarked for a 235ha site 8km south of Bowen, in June 2018.

The State Government granted its final approval for the project in July 2020.