Palmer resort promises big benefits in next stage of plan
PALMER Coolum Resort has urged Coolum residents to get ready to benefit from major infrastructure planned in the area.
The assurance comes as heavy clouds hang over the success of the resort - including reports of dismal occupancy rates - and reports from Coolum businesspeople of a massive slump in the usual commercial spin-offs from resort guests.
"We've got less flow-on - we used to get people who came in to shop retail and went to restaurants, but that's dropped off," Coolum Business and Tourism president Noel Mooney said of the past impact of the resort.
"You very rarely get someone coming in now."
Premier Campbell Newman has also raised concerns about operations at his former LNP colleague's resort.
"I called on him to actually tell people who are employed ... both at the Coolum Resort and up in Townsville ... to let us know what his plans are and that they have a future," Mr Newman said yesterday.
However, resort general manager Bill Schoch said it generated income from its golf, spa, tennis and restaurants, from its events, and from occupancy of hotel rooms.
"Mr Palmer has invested to improve the visitor or guest experience from Palmer Motorama, the vintage car museum, (and) Palmersaurus, the dinosaur experience," he said.
"These attractions will bring visitors from all over Australia as well as international visitors.
"Coolum Beach village businesses should benefit from the investments."
However, Mr Schoch did not respond to claims occupancy at the resort had dropped to a meagre 5% under Mr Palmer's ownership.
"Tourism is slow, but a place like that should be doing better than us. They've got their marketing budget," Mr Mooney said.
"No one really knows what he is doing. Is it going to turn it into a Jurassic Park? Is he going to keep it as a resort? Who knows?"
Mr Mooney added concerns about jobs at the resort.
"If you're not getting people in the resort, you can't keep the staff," he said. "I don't know what he's going to do to get it up and running, but what he's doing now isn't working."
Mr Schoch assured benefits from "the next investment", namely the new beachfront hotel and "the upgrade of the Sunshine Coast Airport to international standard"
"This major $2.5 billion-plus investment will benefit all of the Sunshine Coast including nearby Coolum Beach village," Mr Schoch said.
"The resort has always been a major contributor to the economy of the region and it will continue to do so."
"The Sunshine Coast needs a major new tourism facility to take the region to the next level of prosperity.
"Mr Palmer has the vision passion and resources to do that."