Billion-dollar project to bring jobs, water, roads for Bowen
A BILLION dollar development promising jobs, highway upgrades and a new water supply is on the horizon for Bowen, with the Bowen Chamber of Commerce chairman urging the community to support it.
The proposed $1.1 billion Whitsunday Paradise development is proposing a 10 stage development over two decades, building 1756 residential allotments, 340 units, 47 townhouses, an AFL field and a service centre - all constructed just 10km from Bowen.
The development will also see $40 million spent on "immediate upgrades to the Bruce Highway and Bowen's water and sewer infrastructure".
Gold Coast-based development company Greater Rewards Group are behind the billion dollar project which is still awaiting the green light from the Whitsunday Regional Council.
General manager Blake Thomas said despite concerns of overseas investors, the company is not reliant on overseas investors and are in a position to "self finance the project".
"We are fortunate that we are self-sufficient, we are a Queensland company and we are reliant on our own money," he said.
"We have had interest from domestic and international investors, and before we bring anyone else on board they have to be committed long term to the community and the Bowen region.
"This isn't an overnight project, it is a two to three decade project but what it does do is kick start investments for the region."
Lodging the initial application in early 2018, Mr Thomas said they were keen to get started as soon as possible, and were currently awaiting a decision from the Whitsunday Regional Council.
Mr Thomas said the development would increase the current water supply in the Bowen area, and create 84 jobs in the first stage of the project.
"We are building a new water reservoir on the shoulder of Mt Bramston, so we will not be taking from the existing water supply in town," he said.
"The reservoir will be 10 million litres, with the ability to grow to 20 million litres. This would service both our site and the surrounding area.
"Even in the worst case scenario you are talking about dozens and dozens of jobs for Bowen, 84 jobs in the first stage of the development."
Chamber of Commerce chairman Bruce Hedditch has welcomed the project, which he said will offer a huge "boost" for the region post COVID-19 and called for the Bowen community to get behind it.
"It's essential that the council supports this, coming out of COVID-19 we are going to be in a lot of trouble and this project could help that," he said.
"It's not as though it'll happen overnight, it's a 20-30 year project, but we need to secure some kind of growth for Bowen and this development will offer that."
With the economic toll of COVID-19, Mr Hedditch said communities will need developments like this to recover, and the Greater Rewards Group have the "funds and initiative to boost our economy".
"We can't just sit idle, if we don't do it another council somewhere else will get them to go there," he said.
Whitsunday Regional Council were contacted for comment but had not responded at the time of publishing.