Crystalbrook committed and enthusiastic about Port Douglas


Victoria Stone-Meadows


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Crystalbrook Collection acting CEO Geoff York says the company is committed to developing the Port Douglas marina.

The new Crystalbrook Collection interim CEO, Geoff York, has confirmed the company is committed to the planned development of the Port Douglas marina.

Mr York took on the role of acting CEO of Crystalbrook following the departure of former CEO Mark Davie in July this year.

Mr York was formally the company’s group director of hotels and said the Port Douglas development project is still very much in the works.

“It’s business as usual for us since Mark’s departure, we are continuing to work on the development at the marina but it’s a fairly complex project,” he said.

“It seems simple on the surface but we are working on finding the best solution for the site. Our ambition for that site continues and we are working hard on it.

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“We need to make the best decision for the value and contribution to Port Douglas township and the region’s tourism as well as the appropriate financial return for us as investors.”

In February this year, Mr Davie said Crystalbrook were hoping to have their development application for the marina project lodged with the Douglas Shire Council by the end of June 2019.

While Mr York today acknowledged the process is taking longer than they first anticipated, it is moving forward behind the scenes.

“We remain committed and enthusiastic and are going through what is best for the site. While we don’t have a definite time, we remain committed,” Mr York said.

“There is no question it is taking a bit longer than what we expected to find the best use and we have gone through various schemes but don’t feel it’s quite hitting the mark yet.”

Mr York said there are other factors that the company need to take into consideration when assessing the best use and development of the marina in Port Douglas.

He said tourism and visitation numbers, as well as new appointments to regional tourism organisations, are factors they need to take into account.

“While we are working on the plan for Port Douglas, we are also looking at the tourism numbers in FNQ and to Cairns airport because that feeds Cairns and Port Douglas visitors.

“We are continuing to look at those arrival numbers and the process of the airport securing more international connections; it is key there are more international flights into Cairns airport.

“We need to see some positive movement in those numbers which will mean continuing to work with the state government and continuing to support Tourism Events Queensland and supporting other tourism activity in the region.”

Crystalbrook Collection recently announced the purchase of The Byron at Byron Resort and Spa for $41.7 million from prominent Australian businessman Gerry Harvey.

Mr York said Crystalbrook Collection will not be making any new appoints to the CEO role any time soon and he is happy filling in the role for the time being.

“Ghassan Aboud remains committed to Australia and the proof in the pudding is that acquisition,” Mr York said.

“As far as Ghassan is concerned, we will not be rushing to make another appointment and I wouldn't expect to make any new appointments for some time.”

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