After 30 decades of advocacy for a Boyne Tannum aquatic facility, locals will finally know if the long-awaited project will sink or swim. Councillors voted unanimously to approve concept designs for Gladstone Regional Council’s own aquatic facility proposed for Coronation Drive at Tannum Sands this week.
Deputy Mayor Kahn Goodluck said ZenDev had approached council to either lease its facility or enter an agreement for a future lease, with the potential option to buy the facility off them.
He said while council might decide to partner with ZenDev, it was waiting on a proposal that detailed how much it would cost ratepayers.
“I need to emphasise ZenDev never said they are going to build a pool regardless of what council does, they said they want to enter into an agreement with council and build our pool basically on their site,” Cr Goodluck said.
ZenDev’s aquatic centre would include an Olympic pool, water park and slides, and a gym.
“We have asked them for a (revised) proposal which we haven’t received to this date.
“If and when we receive that proposal we will certainly consider that as an option but until then, we are continuing on our own project we’ve been working on for a number of years.”
ZenDev director Jacob Scott said Gladstone Regional Council made it clear that they couldn’t submit a new proposal until a development application decision was finalised.
“I guess it’s been strategic to suggest that they are waiting on us, but council made it very clear we are not to submit our proposal until the (development application) decision has been finalised,” Mr Scott said.
“It is frustrating, and on another note nothing has really changed from when we made our first deputation.”
At the time, Cr Burnett said, “I can guarantee you it will be considered. I have been in the council for over 20 years, I have always said that the best way for this project to go forward is in partnership with a developer.”
Mr Scott said a joint venture was the developer’s preference.
“We just want to make sure that firstly, it will be considered,” he said.
Mr Scott also said council’s preferred location for the aquatic centre was subject to “significant” risks and environmental constraints.
“The site is identified on the State Planning Policy Mapping System as a “habitat for endangered or vulnerable wildlife”,” he said.
“Ironically, leaving the trees instead of clearing them may not be an option either due to the bushfire hazard overlays on the Mapping System.
“I’m sure the excessive time and money has been invested already into the necessary environmental studies, geotechnical investigations, bushfire safety and risk reporting.”
Mr Scott said ZenDev would not submit the development application for the remaining stages until the Aquatic Centre Approval process was finalised however construction commencement for the aquatic centre was not contingent on the other approval status of the future stages.
“The second stage of this project will be a flagship Tourism, Retail and Recreational Precinct which will include a luxury hotel and boat club amongst other amenities,” he said.
Mr Scott said they have commenced negotiations with a multi-national hotel brand, which would create huge opportunities for the region leading up to the 2032 Olympic Games.
“All we need now is to reach mutually beneficial terms with GRC and the community could be swimming before Christmas next year.”
Cr Goodluck said it was highly doubtful the community would have two aquatic centres.
“What will hopefully happen is the council will hopefully build our aquatic centre if we secure funding from the Labor party, pending the Federal election, or if ZenDev provides a proposal to council thatis more cost effective then what we could do ourselves,” he said.
“I expect the council will make a decision that is in the best interest long-term for the cost of rate payers.”