DOUGLAS Shire Mayor Julia Leu says she’s ‘extremely confident’ the $200 million marina redevelopment will go ahead despite the developer pulling its application.
The decision by Crystalbrook Collection to rethink plans was an opportunity to ‘revisit and refine’ the development, according to Cr Leu.
She confirmed her Council had a number of concerns with the development application, including the architectural style of the building, which they sought clarification on in January.
Developers have since advised council of their decision to ice the project after holding talks with a host of tourist operators, marina tenants and industry experts, it has been revealed.
The news comes after a number of businesses, including the iconic On The Inlet seafood restaurant, ended their lease agreements at the marina as a result of the anticipated waterfront transformation.
“I am extremely confident and Crystalbrook Collection has shown a huge commitment to Far North Queensland,” Mayor Leu told Newsport today.
“Port Douglas is a thriving, internationally-renowned tourist destination that can benefit from thoroughly planned investment like this.”
Syrian billionaire Ghassan Aboud’s company had lodged plans for a 130-room luxury hotel, 45 villas, nine apartments and a waterfront dining and retail precinct.
Council’s other concerns involved pedestrian access, project staging, and how existing operators at the marina, such as Hemingway’s Brewery, Lure and Barbados, could continue to operate without disruption once construction began.
Despite the project stalling, Cr Leu said she expected Crystalbrook to lodge another development application.
“I have spoken to the applicants and I am encouraged by their firm commitment to the marina precinct,” she said.
“This is a forward-thinking opportunity to revisit and refine a landmark development that has the ability to revitalise Port Douglas.
“Douglas Shire Council has worked closely with the applicants and look forward to maintaining a strong relationship when a new development application is lodged.”
She added the community encouraged ‘rigorous investment’ that ‘compliments the region’s unique tropical character.’
Crystalbrook Collection say they are still fully committed to the project and will work with key partners over the coming months ‘to revisit the enhanced marina experience’.
“We anticipate it will be business as usual for the next 18 months at the marina as feasibility studies are undertaken,” a spokesperson said.