Town should have say in proposed development


Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

Email Howard
Like undecided Liked Like disabled
Dislike Dislike undecided Dislike disabled
Last updated:
Bruno Bennett, owner of Coral Sea Villas, says residents should have a say on how they would like to see the town. Image: Howard Salkow
Like undecided Liked Like disabled
Dislike undecided Disliked Dislike disabled

A long–time Port Douglas resident and business owner has questioned why the community was not invited to review the proposed $60 million development on the 69-73 Murphy Street site overlooking the Esplanade, which developer Tim Gurner says is his ‘love project’.

Bruno Bennett, the owner of Coral Sea Villas, which is adjacent to the proposed development site, said while he is not against development, the community should have a say on what they want the town to look like.

“I understand you cannot please everyone, but there are two issues which concern me: Process and the size and scale of the building.

“I believe if this development goes ahead, it will pave the way for more high risers on Flagstaff Hill,” said Bennett.

A significant and contentious issue is that the proposed development ignores the traditional town planning codes that have protected the “no taller than a palm tree” village signature, which attracts guests and residents alike to the region

Bennett also bemoaned the apathy in the community.

“We are all in this together and it saddens me there are always two camps.

“I think we are at a pivotal time for more conciliation,” he said.

Although not anti-development, Bennett has thrown his support behind a group calling itself ‘Protect our Paradise”, who have identified a number of concerning issues regarding the Murphy Street development.

This is perhaps the most vocal group of residents who oppose the development and have created a website ‘protectourparadise’ to air their disapproval. Protect our Paradise is a community of residents who have concerns about the Gurner development. 


In December last year, Newsport reported that Douglas Shire Council confirmed that multi-billion-dollar property developer, Tim Gurner, had submitted an application for a $60 million ‘mixed use’ development on the 69-73 Murphy Street site in Port Douglas. The proposed property will overlook the Four Mile Beach Esplanade.

The Newsport report added that initial town planning designs have been submitted to council and subject to approval, construction is earmarked to commence in mid-2021.

Once complete the site is set to feature 16 ultra-luxury private residences and a further 18 boutique hotel rooms. The hotel will also be home to a new iconic restaurant and cocktail bar.

The retreat will encompass a holistic wellness experience complete with its own Samsara Wellness brand – the first of which will launch at the developer’s sold-out St Moritz address in St Kilda – containing a spa, sauna, ice baths and cryotherapy, pool and treatment rooms. 

Thank you!

Newsport thanks its advertising partners for their support in the delivery of daily community news to the Douglas Shire. Public interest journalism is a fundamental part of every community.

Got a news tip? Let us know! Send your news tips or submit a letter to the editor here.

* Comments are the opinions of readers and do not represent the views of Newsport, its staff or affiliates. Reader comments on Newsport are moderated before publication to promote valuable, civil, and healthy community debate. Visit our comment guidelines if your comment has not been approved for publication.