Crystalbrook won't take resistance from Council on marina development


Victoria Stone-Meadows


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STILL WAITING: The new direction for the Port Douglas Marina is unclear as a new push for development is underway. Image: supplied.

The CEO of Crystalbrook Collection, owners of the Port Douglas Marina, has said they will postpone development if Douglas Shire Council shows more resistance.

The group is committed to building two hotels and private villas at the marina but CEO Mark Davie told FAB FM this week they will look elsewhere if their next development application is knocked back.

“We are as patient as until the next best opportunity comes along,” Mr Davie told Paul Makin on Wednesday.



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“We are continually presented with opportunities for developing hotels, and we can integrate the Port Douglas Marina into next year’s budget, but if I find that right opportunity between now and then that’s elsewhere that provides us with a better return and better solution, that takes priority.

“Port Douglas doesn’t fold; it just means it gets put back another year.”

The marina was sold to Crystalbrook last year and in April this year, it was revealed the group’s development application was withdrawn after concerns were raised by Council and community. 

Mr Davie said the group has continued to study the feasibility of the Port Douglas Marina development.

“At the End of the day, it’s not going to happen if it’s not a good business decision for us, “ he said.

“We need to get a return on our monies and we need to have a density and need to have an architecture that makes financial sense to us, and that is what we will be putting forward to the council.”

After bringing on an independent consultant, discussing the development with tour operators and retail businesses at the marina, Crystalbrook are almost ready to re-submit their application to council.

While Mr Davie compared his experience with Douglas Shire Council as “slow” compared to dealing with Cairns Council, he was sure not to blame council.

“We had to have a closer consolation with community and council, which we were very happy to do, very happy to work with everybody on this,” he said.

“But the extent of the conversations we were having prevented us from reaching an agreement.

“However, It wasn’t just one party, it’s not as though it’s the councils fault and I know that there was a lot finger pointing at Council, it was ourselves as well.

“We had to take in consideration the impact on the tour operators and retail businesses so I think hat we all learned a lot from that; this is only going to survive and succeed if we do consider all parties.”

One of the objections to the original application was the type of architecture put forward, claiming it would not fit with the “village feel” of the town.

Mr Davie said the vision for the Port Douglas Marina is one of looking to the future and attracting new visitors to the region.

“We need to consider how we represent the architecture for what’s right for the hospitality industry in 10 years time. That’s where I think there could be a fall-apart of option,” he said.

“I know that there is a strong feeling for local architecture but I often drive around Port Douglas and wonder what local architecture is because I see al kinds here; there is not a distinct architecture.”

“We want a product here that is going to be on the front page of traveller magazine distributed through London or New York But we can’t have anything that is too passive to do that; we need to have something that is a bold architecture statement and that what’s we will be seeking.”

Douglas Shire Council were contacted but were unable to provide comment at this time. 




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