Whitsunday Paradise plan passes critical hurdle
AFTER years of negotiations, the contentious Whitsunday Paradise project is one step closer to reality after receiving approval for the construction and upgrades of roads from the Department of Transport and Main Roads.
Due to the size of the Whitsunday Paradise development, significant infrastructure and road networks would be required, which have now been given the green light by the Department of Transport and Main Roads.
A spokeswoman from the Department of Transport and Main Roads said the department's role was to act as a technical advisory agent to the Department of State Development, Tourism and Innovation to assist with finalising development applications.
She confirmed that they had reached an agreement with the Whitsunday Paradise developers.
"We have reviewed this development application and reached an in-principle agreement with the applicant," she said.
"We are now finalising the required documentation."
The Department of Transport and Main Roads has approved plans to upgrade the Bruce Highway at the intersections with Adelaide Point Rd, Ocean View Dr and Don St.
The department has also approved the planned construction of a yet-to-be named new access road to the 269ha Whitsunday Paradise site, which sits 8km south of Bowen.
Greater Rewards Group, the Gold Coast based company behind the project, lodged plans for the development of 2000 homes and apartments, and has been in negotiations with the State Government since 2018.
The development is still awaiting further approvals from the State Government and Whitsunday Regional Council before they can start work.
A spokesman for the Whitsunday Regional Council said they had not been notified about the latest government decision and they understood that the State Government had extended their overall approval period to July 9.
Chamber of Commerce chairman Bruce Hedditch said after months of waiting for the approval it was a positive step in the right direction and Bowen was one step closer to securing the project.
"We've been waiting for this, we are delighted to hear it," he said.
"Now that's in place we can move forward, the next step now is to move to the council for their approvals.
"This is excellent news, it'll be a boom for Bowen."
Greater Rewards Group general manager Blake Thomas said once the project received final approvals, the company would immediately start $40 million worth of infrastructure upgrades, which would mean the creation of 84 jobs "almost immediately."
"The Whitsunday Paradise is a 20-year commitment for the team at Greater Rewards Group and we intend to be a long -term partner in the future of the Bowen region," he said.
"The development will contribute $1.129 billion to the regional economy across the 10 stages of the project."
Mr Thomas said the infrastructure upgrades would include improvements to the Bruce Highway and to Bowen's water and sewerage system.
Mr Thomas said the masterplan included a range of lot sizes to accommodate traditional houses, townhouses, units and potentially tourist accommodation.
The first stage of the project is planned to include 200 new housing lots, an AFL field with a clubhouse and a service centre with food outlets.
"Whitsunday Paradise will have more than 50 hectares of dedicated green space
incorporating Mt Bramston, the foreshore and a series of parks," he said.