Gambling with the Great Keppel Island big guns today
THE future of one of Australia's iconic tourism destinations hangs in the balance today.
Proponents of the $600 million Great Keppel Island revitalisation project will attend a supporter gathering at The Strand Hotel in Yeppoon today at noon after being overwhelmed by support for a boutique casino licence from business, the public and both sides of politics.
Tower Holdings CEO Terry Agnew (pictured) will address the gathering to discuss the economic benefits to the community and detail plans and recent progress.
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Livingstone Mayor Bill Ludwig said the critical importance the project had to the economic future of the region could not be overstated.
"This will be a game-changer and put our region back on the national and international map as a major tourist destination," Cr Ludwig said.
"The overwhelming majority of people I speak to in the community do not appear to have an issue with a 'boutique' gaming facility similar to what is available on just about every international cruise boat operating along the Queensland coast.
"The only proviso I would strongly advocate for is that the resort proponents make an immediate start and have the new resort component operational within 18 to 24 months."
Project developer Anthony Aiossa said the majority of the resort's facilities would be open to the local community.
"We understand in the past there have been periods when local residents were discouraged from going to the island.
"Public access will be available to the marina, shops, yacht club, research centre, sporting oval and golf course.
"All of the beaches will remain open to the public, as will the environmental protection precinct."
Mr Aiossa said work on the project would commence in six to 12 months if a boutique casino licence was granted, securing off-shore finance.
GKI Supporters' meeting
Oceanview Room, The Strand Hotel, Yeppoon
With Tower Holdings CEO and project development manager