Whitsunday superyacht safe haven could bring 1000 jobs
A WORLD-CLASS superyacht facility that could provide more than 1000 jobs and pour thousands of dollars into the local economy is back on the cards for Bowen.
The Whitsunday Marine Centre of Excellence has been on the wishlist of developments in Bowen for several years but a hefty tax on the entry of the multimillion-dollar vessels and now coronavirus has made groundwork on the project almost impossible.
However, the project recently landed a place on the region's priority list again when it was identified by Greater Whitsunday Alliance as one of 15 projects needed to transform our region post-COVID.
The centre is set to include maintenance, repair and shipwrighting facilities for commercial vessels and superyachts in the second pond at the Bowen marina.
The centre would also involve the construction of trunk utilities, marine structures and buildings, pontoons and a number of lift structures to service a range of vessels.
Whitsunday Regional Council project co-ordinator Ry Collins said the centre could boost many sectors in Bowen.
"Employment is probably the biggest one, the facility itself being a marine servicing, maintenance and building facility has got the opportunity to provide a significant number of jobs and attract business and investment to the region," he said.
"We know that the Whitsundays has a fairly strong marine industry through its charter boats and we've got a number of world-class marinas here, but one thing that is lacking particularly in that top end market, is being able to service them locally."
Original plans also included an educational facility, however Mr Collins said this was less likely now.
GW3 estimate the project could create more than 1000 jobs during construction and operation.
The council put side $350,000 for the project in the 2018/19 budget, however GW3 predicted a $120 million investment would be needed to get the centre off the ground.
Council officers will now work to establish the pre-construction and design costs before seeking investment and support for funding.
Market opportunities will also be explored with the council set to approach organisations who indicated interest in the original plans.
Mr Collins said while the centre was still be several years away, he hoped it would help build on the strong marine industry of the Whitsundays.