The Queensland Government has been urged to help ensure the smooth sale of Port Hinchinbrook.
Port Hinchinbrook (Qld Police)
The owner of the north Queensland resort, Williams Corporation, was placed into liquidation last week, following a $19m deal falling through.
One of developer’s, Keith Williams’ family companies, it failed to financially recover after the resort, located about two hours’ drive from Townsville, was battered by Cyclone Yasi two years ago.
The Cardwell Chamber of Commerce is concerned for local employment and the region’s reputation if the resort is closed. Chamber spokesman Lindsay Hallam said the resort and marina are vital infrastructure and must be kept open to help Cardwell’s post-cyclone recovery.
'Cardwell cannot recover without job creation in the area and the job creation really can only come from tourism,' he said. 'Tourism in the area is based on the water, fishing, boating, the facilities at Port Hinchinbrook. It’s the infrastructure it desperately needs.'
He has urged the State Government to step in to ensure the future of the resort as soon as possible.
'We hope that the Government does become involved as soon as possible, to clarify issues and make it more appealing from a paperwork point of view to the next developer.'
Port Hinchinbrook from the air
Situated halfway between Townsville and Cairns, Port Hinchinbrook is the gateway to Hinchinbrook Island and World Heritage listed natural wonders such as the Great Barrier Reef and Hinchinbrook Island National Park.
Described by residents as 'Queensland’s longest running soap opera', Port Hinchinbrook has been mired in controversy for its location, financing and environmental impact of the resort-apartment-marina complex since the development commenced in the late 1990s.
Residents are still recovering from the damage from Cyclone Yasi that swept through the resort two years ago.
Last week, a would-be investment syndicate, AA New Image Developments, pulled out, sending Port Hinchinbrook into liquidation. The investor told the Australian Financial Review that the development would be 'financial suicide' due to the politics and frustrations it is embroiled in to this day.
The Queensland state government’s infrastructure and planning department has stated it does not have any responsibility to the resort and that it is owed $850,000 for recent dredging work.