‘Vision and initiative’: Two projects backing Bowen’s future
TWO major private developments in Bowen are being touted as important investments to help the town evolve despite coronavirus tightening belts across the nation.
Bowen Chamber of Commerce chairman Bruce Hedditch pressed the need for companies with "vision and initiative" such as Adani and Greater Rewards Group, which is behind the Whitsunday Paradise project, to continue moving developments forward and creating jobs.
"You've got to encourage these entrepreneurs and people with ideas and concepts who've got the money to move forward," Mr Hedditch said.
"If they're not involved, nothing's going to happen."
Mr Hedditch said Whitsunday Paradise developers wanted to do a project that's "outside the square" and needed support.
Council is focusing spending on maintaining existing infrastructure and not raising rates and Mr Hedditch says ratepayers could not afford to pay much more anyway.
He said investment still had to come from somewhere.
"We've got to go with it because you take Adani and Whitsunday Paradise out and there's nobody left, there's no Australian companies left," he said.
"They've got the initiative to do it and they're going to spend so much money upfront with road works and sewerage, we've got to look after them."
The Whitsunday Paradise development is spearheaded by Gold Coast based company Greater Rewards Group, which received final approval from the State Government for the development plans last month.
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.
The masterplan includes a range of lot sizes to accommodate traditional houses, townhouses, units and potentially tourist accommodation.
Bowen resident Kevin Murphy agreed the Whitsunday Paradise development was "excellent" for the Whitsunday town.
"This town is like a little pond and unless you keep adding freshwater it gets stagnant," he said.
"This is going to bring in new people and it's going to be good for Bowen."
Adani Australia regional development manager Cameron Tragardh and Greater Rewards Group general manager Blake Thomas addressed the Bowen Chamber of Commerce at its August meeting on Wednesday.
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Thomas said Whitsunday Paradise offered both short-term and long-term benefits for Bowen, including creating jobs in construction.
"We really do believe, especially at this time, that there needs to be jobs ticking over just to keep the local economy going," he said.
A retirement village is part of the development and is aimed toward allowing people to live in the area and then downsize without having to move, Mr Thomas said.
"A lot of people don't want to leave where they're from if they love their home," he said.
"We have to give people the option to (stay) and if they don't have that we have unfortunately seen people leaving Bowen and other regional areas to regional centres or urban centres."
Mr Thomas said the next major focus was working collaboratively with the council to secure approval, with the goal being mid-September.
Mr Hedditch said he was driven to advocate for the projects because he was concerned about the future of Bowen if developments did not continue moving ahead.
"I think it has a sad future if it doesn't take up these opportunities," Mr Hedditch said.
"We need these people and we should be encouraging them to look at regional Australia and look at the opportunities.
"We are a beautiful spot in the Whitsundays."