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Coral Coast development takes the next step

THE $180 million Coral Coast Resort development is one step closer to the construction stage after the Shire of Carnarvon recently gave its unanimous support to project plans.

The Pilbara resort, which has been in the works since 1987, will be located at Mauds Landing just north of the hugely popular tourist destination of Coral Bay.

Shire president Del Miles said the council had voted to endorse the resort’s structure plans to the Ministry of Planning based on the benefits the resort is expected to bring to the region.

“We believe the resort will be good for the local economy, bringing in the extra tourism dollars and creating more employment,” Mrs Miles said.

“These benefits will continue well into the future as the project moves through its different stages.”

The structure plan is now being considered by the Ministry, and developers Coral Coast Marine Developments Pty Ltd are hopeful construction can start as soon as August.

CCMD executive director Richard Hay said the resort had the potential to inject about $90 million a year into the region.

“Everyone recognises this resort will be the catalyst for the tourism industry in the region,” he said.

“Lots of work will be created but there will also be many business opportunities which flow from the resort and the tourists it will attract.”

And not only will the region’s economy receive a boost, pressure on the Coral Bay area would be relieved.

Coral Bay has a legal capacity of 1500 people yet, in peak season, attracts about 3000 visitors, many of whom camp illegally and disturb the area’s fragile environment.

There is no coral off the coast of Mauds Landing, only sandy sea beds, and the land is primarily low dunes and salt flats.

The resort will be focused around an inland marina and will provide a varied range of tourist accommodation including camping areas, caravan parks, backpacker hostels, serviced apartments, chalets, villas and townhouses.

Residential and staff accommodation also will be provided at the resort, along with boating, swimming and scuba diving facilities.

The resort will generate funding for the ongoing management of Ningaloo Marine Park through a $1.25 million Environment and Interpretive Centre.

The Coral Coast Resort concept was first raised 14 years ago, but Court Government Environment Minister Cheryl Edwardes rejected CCMD’s initial plans for the project in 1996.

Guidelines for the project were then established and CCMD revised, scaled down and resubmitted resort plans in November 1999.

CCMD is still awaiting final approval from the Ministry of Planning, Environmental Protection Authority and federal organisation Environment Australia.

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