Cairns airport key factor as marina development is put on ice

CRYSTALBROOK

Karlie Brady

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Owner of Crystalbrook Collection, Ghassan Aboud, and Crystalbrook Collection Interim CEO, Geoff York at the opening of Bailey in Cairns today. Image: Karlie Brady.
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The proposed Port Douglas Crystalbrook Marina development has been placed on hold pending the future of increased traffic through Cairns Airport and support from the State Government to boost tourism numbers.

The owner of Crystalbrook Collection, Ghassan Aboud, said today in Cairns that the proposed $250 million re-development of the Marina has been stopped without a timeframe.

The Douglas Shire Council had been hoping to receive a revised Development Application mid-year, which was then deferred to “sometime before Christmas”.


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Addressing a media conference for the opening of the latest Crystalbrook Collection hotel, Bailey, Mr Adoud said while the Douglas Shire Council was keen to work with him, the onus is now on the State Government.

“The Douglas Shire Council is wonderful and the mayor is also very nice,” said Mr Aboud.

“The problem is with us. We’ve stopped the project now, frankly.

“I am waiting to see what the reaction is from the Government in Brisbane about supporting Cairns Airport,” he said.

“They need to support Cairns Airport and they need to bring airlines here. This is very important.”

He said Crystalbrook Collection will still work on the development application, but will not commence construction until they are comfortable with continued market growth and increased inbound aviation.

When asked how long he thinks this might take, he replied: “Ask the Government.”

“The Marina is looking good. The hotel will not be started until we are sure.”

In responding to the news, Douglas Shire Mayor Julia Leu said she was looking forward to hearing more from Mr Aboud when she meets with him in Cairns tonight.

“Council will continue to support Crystalbrook Collection in their bid to progress this development.

“While the news is disappointing, I applaud Mr Aboud’s drive to grow flights into the Cairns Airport which I believe is something this region can get behind,” said Mayor Leu.

Ms Tara Bennett, CEO of Tourism Port Douglas Daintree (TPDD) said Crystalbrook Collection’s decision to postpone the Port Douglas marina development is disappointing, but not unexpected in the current climate.

“My understanding is that further work has halted until tourism numbers pick up in line with increased aviation. We join Mr Aboud in his desire to see sustainable tourism growth for the destination.

“This requires a collaborative approach from federal, state and local governments, the Cairns and Brisbane Airports alongside tourism organisations and operators on the ground which is currently being developed.

“On the aviation front we are starting to see new opportunities in 2020 with improved services from Auckland to Cairns that connect into North and South America coupled with the new Qantas flights into Brisbane from Chicago and San Francisco, all are expected to boost visitation for the Douglas region,” she said.  


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