Described as the first new significant tourism infrastructure in Queensland for over 20 years, the Great Keppel Island Revitalisation Plan is poised for federal government approval of the $600m 'green' overhaul of the iconic North Queensland destination, to include a marina for sailing boats and other vessels.
Federal Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson said this week approvals are just weeks away for GKI Resort Pty Ltd- Tower Holdings’ third attempt at securing approval for its plans for Great Keppel Island.
The third submission from the developer, this version of the Environmental Impact Statement took almost two years to complete and involved the input of over 90 expert consultants, including resort designer WATG and Greg Norman golf course design, and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) which was involved in the engineering and design solutions within the marina design, including the dredging, land reclamation and breakwater.
The proposed Revitalisation Plan will include:
• A 200 berth marina precinct in the north-west of the Island, including a ferry terminal, barge ramp, retail shops, cafés restaurants and Research Centre;
• 575 hectares of Environmental Protection Area;
• The Great Keppel Island Research and Historic Centre;
• A new 250 room low-rise hotel at Fisherman’s Beach including restaurants, conference rooms, day spa and a range of recreation activities. The hotel will be designed by WATG and will reflect colours and style that will blend into the existing environment;
• Public walking tracks throughout the Island;
• A spectacular golf course designed with essential habitat and ecological corridors. The golf course will also form an essential part of the Island’s water re-use treatment system;
• A range of tourist accommodation options to suit all budgets including: freestanding Resort Eco-villas (750) and Resort Eco-apartments (300), which will incorporate sustainable building designs, rooftop solar panels, rain water tanks and maximise natural solar access and natural ventilation;
• Submarine utilities connection between the Island and mainland comprising electricity, water and telecommunications services;
• Direct air access to Sydney, Brisbane and Cairns by upgrading the airstrip;
• Emergency service facilities including fire-fighting and police; and
• Restoration of the Leeke’s Homestead.
The proposed engineering solution for the construction of the marine facility involves the reuse of any marina basin dredge material to form the core of facility breakwaters and to provide the majority of the material required for marine facility land reclamation.
The proposed construction method proposes the breakwater cores to be constructed with geotextile containers filled with sediment excavated from the marina basin. Beneficial re-use of all of the marina dredge material will: eliminate the need for any sea dumping, reduce the need for a quarry on the Island, and significantly reduce the amount of rock which will need to be transported to the Island for marina construction.
The Marine Services Precinct will be the heart and soul of the Resort. It will be a fun and lively area where guests and day visitors can enjoy waterside dining all day and a mix of boutique shopping.
The Marine Services Precinct will also be home to the various marine based tourism activities. These may include sunset cruises, reef cruises, fishing charters and dive trips.
The ferry terminal will be located within the Marine Services Precinct. This will provide all weather safe access to the Island by sea for the first time in its history as a purpose built tourism destination. This will make access to the Island for children in prams, the elderly and disabled far easier.
The Great Keppel Island Research and Historic Centre will also be located within the Marine Services Precinct and involve the establishment of programs with various research and education groups. The Research Centre will be used to conduct research programs and conservation activities on the Island and within the Marine Park, monitoring fringing coral communities and facilitating student research activities.
Another important facet of the GKI Revitalisation Plan will be a significant commitment to the use of renewable energy by embracing one of Australia’s most significant natural resources - abundant sunshine.
ARUP Engineers has concluded that the GKI Revitalisation Plan can achieve its target of being Australia’s first carbon positive island resort through the installation of over 24,000 solar panels on the rooftops of the tourism accommodation.
In total the solar panels will generate over 12,400 megawatt hours of clean renewable energy each year.
The Resort will therefore generate more green power than it can use, allowing additional energy to be fed back to the mainland through a submarine cable. Through this activity, additional green energy will be fed back into the grid for the benefit of all Central Queensland residents.
More at www.gkiresort.com.au
by Jeni Bone/Sail-World Cruising
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12:43 AM Sun 3 Mar 2013GMT
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