Tasmanian east coast council to consider rezoning land for $100m resort development
By Erin Cooper
The heritage-listed 1830s homestead could become a wedding venue under the plan. (Supplied: Roberts Real Estate)
A multi-million-dollar tourism development is on the cards for Tasmania’s east coast, boasting everything from luxury accommodation to a palliative care facility and an airstrip.
Cambria Green Agriculture and Tourism Management, a group of international and Australian investors, bought the Cambria and Belmont properties in March 2015.
Now it has a rezoning request for parts of the 3,185-hectare property located at Dolphin Sands (between Swansea and Coles Bay) for the Glamorgan Spring Bay Council to consider tonight.
If the rezoning is approved, the site, which straddles the Tasman Highway, would be home to a $100 million development that includes 70 villas, 240 units and up to 120 rooms in the luxury “Cambria Sky” hotel with the organic “Cambria Bistro” open to the public.
Glamorgan Spring Bay Mayor Michael Kent said the proposal was a “fantastic” opportunity for the region.
“It’s an unbelievable opportunity from my point of view,” he said.
“We are screaming out on the East Coast for accommodation.”
Irene Duckett, whose company drafted the rezoning proposal, said the first priority for the development would be the heritage-listed 1830s homestead.
“These rural homesteads are really difficult to maintain on a farmer’s salary,” she said.
“One of the big goals of this project is to build a commercial case to support and restore the homestead and bring it back to its former glory — allow the community to enjoy it.
Market for beautiful, peaceful place to die
The masterplan for the development includes a vast array of elements including two golf courses proposed — an 18-hole championship course and a nine-hole course — but the most curious is a palliative care unit.
Ms Duckett said there was a market in China for such a service, for those who could afford it, because of the erosion of the extended family.
“There’s a need for somewhere people can go that’s peaceful and quiet, nature-based but with services,” she said.
“That nature-based environment is priceless — they would travel for that, if they can afford it.
“Extended, traditional families just don’t exist anymore.”
‘Swansea commerce not under threat’
A new village would centre on a man-made lake and feature a convenience store, pharmacy, dental and medical services, cafes, restaurants, gym, children’s play area and public art gallery.
The project is an “unbelievable opportunity”, says Mayor Michael Kent. (ABC News: Rhiannon Shine)
And alongside the more conventional tourism infrastructure, the masterplan also discusses medical facilities and organic farming spaces, an 80-unit health retreat precinct and an airstrip to facilitate the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
The farming areas would be devoted to vineyards, hay production and other crops.
The company has also bought a 400-megalitre water entitlement from Tasmanian Irrigation to secure a reliable water supply for the property.
Ms Duckett said while the scale of the development was vast, it would maintain an east coast Tasmania feel.
“There’s going to be pockets of developments, so that at any one point, you don’t feel like you’re in the middle of a Queensland resort,” she said.
Ms Duckett sought to reassure business owners in Swansea, saying they should not feel threatened by a loss of trade.
“Any commercial operation [on Cambria] is only there to support the tourist operation,” she said.
“It very clearly states it’s not to undermine the retail hierarchy in Swansea.”
‘Regional Tasmania needs this’
To get the formal go-ahead, if the sections of the site are rezoned by the Glamorgan Spring Bay Council, the final stop would be Tasmanian Planning Commission approval.
Luke Martin from the Tourism Industry Council said it was good to see a significant project that could boost regional tourism in the state.
“Tasmania’s seen a lot of these types of major-scale, integrated developments proposed over the last 10, 15, 20 years, and obviously it is a very difficult and challenging process for anyone to get one of these up,” he said.
“Our number-one goal now is to make sure Tasmanian regional tourism grows at the same rate as the cities, and the only way we’re going to do that is to attract investment to regional Tasmania.”