$1b Whitsunday Paradise project given green light
A PROJECT expected to inject more than $1 billion into the Bowen economy has just received final approval from the State Government.
The Whitsunday Paradise development is spearheaded by Gold Coast based company Greater Rewards Group, which has just received final approval for its plans from the State Assessment and Referral Agency.
The agency is an arm of the Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning.
The company last month received the green light from the Department of Transport and Main Roads.
The next step in the project is to secure the required approvals from the Whitsunday Regional Council.
Council development services director Neil McGaffin said the next box the company needed to tick was supplying required information to the council so a report could be prepared.
"They've satisfied the requirements of the Department of Transport and Main Roads and that's taken well over 12 months and that's been achieved," Mr McGaffin said.
"That enables the council to sit down and look at the local government issues."
Mr McGaffin said there was already an approval in place for the project, but the company was requesting changes.
The proposed $1.1 billion Whitsunday Paradise development is laid out as a 10-stage development, building 1756 residential allotments, 340 units, 47 townhouses, an AFL field and a service centre - all constructed just 10km from Bowen.
Representatives from the project met with the council yesterday but Mr McGaffin said a time frame for the project was dependent on when the company supplied the information the council had requested.
"We need to have all our ducks lined up so when we go to the council and they have questions, we can say we have the answers," Mr McGaffin said.
"The presentation that they did for council on Wednesday showed the council's interested in many parts of the development."
Mr McGaffin said the project could provide huge benefits for Bowen but Greater Rewards Group was estimating it would take decades to complete.
"I think if it comes off it will be great for Bowen because it will mean that Bowen grows and hopefully the critical mass of the town will mean that there will be a range of services and facilities for the community to enjoy," he said.
Greater Rewards Group general manager Blake Thomas said once the project received council approval, the company would immediately begin $40 million worth of infrastructure upgrades for the Bowen region.
The works would create 84 jobs "almost immediately", he said.
"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," Mr Thomas 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 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," Mr Thomas said.
The Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning was contacted for comment but did not respond by time of publication.