‘See if it happens’: Scepticism over Palmer’s $100m promise
With a shrug of the shoulders and a laugh Reg Dunn said it would be great if a $100m revamp of Clive Palmer's mothballed Coolum resort went ahead.
Yaroomba residents on Wednesday took the news of Mr Palmer's planned reopening of the former five-star resort with a dose scepticism.
Mr Dunn moved to Yaroomba from western New South Wales two years ago and is used to having the more than 300-villa derelict resort at the end of his street.
"It's great, good on him," Mr Dunn said.
"If he does what he says he has planned then it would be great.
"Let's see if this actually happens."
Mr Palmer purchased the resort in 2011 but in 2015 it was closed, putting 600 staff out of work and shareholders of 144 villas in limbo.
In November last year the former Fairfax MP agreed to pay 310 unit holders for their quarter shares in a class action settlement worth $21 million.
It brought a long-running court dispute to an end and essentially gave Mr Palmer total control of the resort.
The mining billionaire said via a statement that the redevelopment would include replicas of the Wonders of the World and famous landmarks including a full-size Trevi Fountain.
About 300 premium studio, two and three bedroom apartments will be refurbished and the upgrade will also feature seven restaurants and the total renovation of the Village Square.
Mr Palmer said about 100 tradies and construction staff were already onsite with another 100 expected to be employed on the project by mid-year, ahead of an anticipated opening of stage one in the second half of next year.
He said the centrepiece of the revitalised resort would be the Robert Trent Jones Jnr-designed golf course, the former home of 11 Australian PGA Championships.
Warran Rd resident Taylah Johnston said she was disappointed the resort was left empty for so many years amid a rental market crisis.
"Some of those properties could have been rented out," she said.
"People on the Coast are desperate to find a home.
"Parents are living with their children in cars, and we have all of these rooms left empty."
Resident of 12 years Rob Hickey said he would love to see the resort returned back to its former glory.
Mr Hickey said he thought Mr Palmer would use the land for housing development.
Meanwhile Mark Robinson was sceptical of the project actually eventuating.
"He should do it, I'd love to see it up and running, but I don't think he will," Mr Robinson said.
Visit Sunshine Coast CEO Matt Stoeckel said the former Hyatt Coolum played a key role in developing the region's tourism market.
"There is no doubt the region requires significant resorts, such as the former Hyatt, to capitalise on the destination's potential," Mr Stoeckel said.
"We look forward to further information about this announcement."