An environmental impact statement (EIS) on a proposed $250 million, 669-berth marina and resort development on Queensland’s central coast was today released by the Coordinator-General for public comment.
In July 2006 the Coordinator-General, Colin Jensen, declared the Shute Harbour Marina Resort project a ‘significant project requiring an EIS’.
Since then, the proponent, Shute Harbour Marina Development Pty Ltd, has undertaken detailed investigations into the natural, social, economic, built and cultural environmental impacts of the project.
“The EIS identifies potential environmental, social and economic benefits and impacts associated with the project’s design, construction and operation, and ways of avoiding or mitigating the adverse impacts,” Mr Jensen said.
“The EIS considers not only the direct impacts, but also the indirect and cumulative impacts.
“I encourage members of the public and other interested parties, including those who have already been consulted by the proponents, to read the EIS and have their say.”
Mr Jensen highlighted that people should not confuse the project with an earlier proposal by the proponent, for which an EIS was undertaken in 2005.
“Community concerns raised then prompted the proponent to make significant changes to its proposal, so much so that a new EIS was required—the one being considered now.”
Mr Jensen said the public and relevant state agencies would be given six weeks to comment on the 370-page EIS, with submissions closing at 5pm on 15 December 2008.
The new development is proposed for a 41ha site at Shute Harbour, 10 km south-west of Airlie Beach. The site was designated as a marina in the former Whitsunday Shire Council’s Strategic Plan.
The site abuts Conway National Park and the site’s tidal lands and waters are within the Great Barrier Reef Coastal Marine Park. Part of the site is within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.
The main elements of the project are a breakwater marina with 669 berths; a 109-room hotel of up to five storeys; a commercial, retail and dining precinct; a 117-allotment resort accommodation precinct; and a charter boat base.
The project is also deemed a ‘controlled action’, which means it must be approved under the federal government’s Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.
The Department of Infrastructure and Planning is coordinating the assessment of the EIS and will address matters on behalf of both the state and federal governments under a bilateral agreement.
“I am satisfied the EIS prepared by the proponent substantially meets the terms of reference for the EIS,” Mr Jensen said.
“This is not an approval of the EIS, rather it gives any interested person or organisation an opportunity to make a submission to me on the EIS.”
After reviewing the EIS and the submissions on it, the Coordinator-General will determine whether Shute Harbour Marina Development Pty Ltd is required to prepare a supplementary EIS.
This supplementary EIS would address matters raised in the submissions and include any further information the Coordinator-General deems necessary.
He will consider the EIS, any supplementary EIS that is required, all properly made submissions, and any other relevant material before preparing a report evaluating the EIS.
The evaluation report will recommend either that the application be approved; be approved subject to certain conditions being met; or be refused.
The report will be made publicly available on the Department of Infrastructure and Planning website.
For more information, call the proponent’s information line on 1800 689 609 or www.dip.qld.gov.au/projects/tourism-arts-and-recreation/shute-harbour-marina-development.html
Media enquiries: Bryan Mulligan 07 3033 0660