by Jeni Bone
Fraser Coast Regional Council is poised to begin a promotional campaign to hook a private developer for its envisaged $40 million Maryborough Marine Industry Precinct.
The plans for a world-class facility have been on the drawing board for 12 years, and the vision for the marine precinct would be similar to the Gold Coast’s Coomera hub, said the Mayor, Gerard O’Connell.
'I will be working with the consultants to get a promotional program made up in the next couple of months,' O'Connell said. 'Then we'll be out on the road looking for a private provider to make an investment.'
The marine precinct will be on 65 hectares at Beaver Rock, Granville, and is likely to provide more than 300 jobs over a 10-year period as well as additional training opportunities.
Businesses suited to the precinct would include boat builders, equipment manufacturers, vessel re-fitters, maintenance and service providers. Additions could include the establishment of a Marine Trade Training Centre, providing marine vocational skills training through the University of Southern Queensland and Wide Bay TAFE, providing tertiary marine science and marine engineering training.
Council gave preliminary approval to the project in September 2012.
The next step is to identify suitable developers and then take the project’s marketing collateral on a national roadshow, with the objective of attracting them with a JV with Council.
'We'll be saying ‘Here’s a project with preliminary approval for a 65-hectare site. The project is well advanced. There's the ability to create a wet basin and slipways. It's the perfect opportunity to get the industry going’,' added O’Connell.
Speaking with MBW, Mayor O’Connell explained: 'Council has the contract on the land, which can be triggered with a viable contributor or developer.'
O’Connell stated that the Fraser Coast is the ideal location for a marine precinct, while acknowledging that this is 'new territory' in terms of scope.
'Fraser Coast has a strong tradition of ship building, and the Mary River and Urangan Harbour are havens of recreational boating. It could help with the redevelopment of the harbour by offering marine industries a new base which would allow the harbour to have a stronger tourism focus.'
It was also the start of a renewed emphasis on the Mary River in the economic development of the region.
'The Mary River is a huge resource which has not fully been realised,' O’Connell said. 'The economy is picking up, this is an opportunity that presents itself and we think developers and the marine industry will get onboard.'
The Mayor is hopeful they will have attracted a developer by the end of the year.
More at www.frasercoast.qld.gov.au