Fairmont resort developer claims first victory

Development

Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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The proposed 253-room resort is regarded among the biggest development in Port Douglas since the 1980s. Image: supplied
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The developer of the proposed $300 million Accor Fairmont Resort is claiming his first victory in their battle against Douglas Shire Council, who have rejected their Development Application as it does not fall within the Planning Scheme.

The matter was taken to the Planning and Environment Court after Paul Chiodo’s application was not approved by the Town Planners, who recommended that the Councillors follow suit, which was unanimous.

In a statement to Newsport, Chiodo said the first Directions hearing took place last Friday and resulted in a victory for Chiodo Corporation.

“The Council was ordered to properly particularise their grounds for refusal to approve the development to enable us to respond in a satisfactory manner. We anticipate that this will require the Council to incur significant legal and associated expenses in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

“We have proposed to the Council lawyers to have early mediation with a view to reach an expeditious agreement, in order to save costs for both parties and allow us to move forward in the process towards building this highly anticipated resort.

“Whereas we haven’t yet received a response from the Council team for an early resolution, we remain hopeful for a fruitful relationship and an effective way forward. We stand by our development as one that fits perfectly within Port Douglas, and one that will bring immense value to the region, local businesses and the community,” the statement said.

Far stretch from victory

But Douglas Shire Mayor Michael Kerr said this is a far stretch from a victory for Mr Chiodo.

“At the recent mediation meeting, Douglas Shire Council was advised to present all the details as to why the application was refused, to the mediator by December 10.

“Mr Chiodo has also been asked to present all his evidence as to why the application should be approved to the mediator by December 24.

“This, by all accounts, is a normal process of mediation, not a victory,” said Kerr.

The proposed 253-room resort, regarded among the biggest development in Port Douglas since Christopher Skase made his presence felt in the 1980s and is being developed on the old Havana project, has been riddled with controversy.

It all came to a head when an e-mail was sent to the developer, from a staff member of the Environment and Planning team: It said: “Unfortunately staff will be required to recommend refusal for the Fairmont project as discussed. Ultimately the scale of the project does not comply with a significant number of performance outcomes and overall outcomes from the relevant codes.

“It added that the proposal does not comply, or nearly comply with the height, scale and bulk requirements reflected in the Strategic Framework, Tourist Accommodation Zone Code and Landscape Values Overlay Code, adding the significant on-site car parking short fall is not supportable by officers.”

An appeal was then made by the developers to the Planning and Environment Court.


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