29/04/2010 - 00:00

Search for staff digs as resources boom builds

29/04/2010 - 00:00

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STAFFING issues created by the state’s resources boom have been well documented, but a curious flow-on effect has resulted in a new lease of life for some accommodation facilities.

Search for staff digs as resources boom builds

STAFFING issues created by the state’s resources boom have been well documented, but a curious flow-on effect has resulted in a new lease of life for some accommodation facilities.

Port Hedland’s Esplanade Hotel was, until recently, a run-down albeit historic building, despite it appearing as the outback drinking hole in Toni Collette’s 2003 film, ‘Japanese Story’.

In January 2007, then Gould Transport owner Doug Gould bought the hotel for $2 million intending to use it to house his truck drivers.

After selling his trucking business in 2008, Mr Gould invested $12 million redeveloping the property, opening 21 new rooms and a function centre in June last year.

He’ll soon spend a further $14 million adding another 75 rooms as part of his ambitious vision for tourism in the town.

“I could lock it down as another BHP camp but I don’t want to,” Mr Gould said.

He said he received a clandestine bid for the hotel from a local mining magnate a few months after buying it but quickly turned it down.

“It turned out it was Twiggy (Fortescue Metals Group founder, Andrew Forrest),” Mr Gould told WA Business News.

“He offered me double the money to walk away but I said ‘no’ as I could see a lot of potential in it.”

FMG bought Port Hedland’s Club Hamilton caravan park in 2003 for its workers during the construction of its port and rail facilities. FMG now rents out part of the facility to other mining companies and the general public.

In 2007, China Metallurgical Group Corporation bought the Hotel Northbridge on Lake Street in Perth for an undisclosed sum.

It’s understood MCC uses the hotel to house its executives in WA, preferring to focus on its Cape Preston operations instead of sourcing staff accommodation.

In February, Venturex Resources bought Straits Resources’ Whim Creek copper mine operations, including the Whim Creek hotel for about $11 million.

 

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