Since the 1980’s, a variety of proposals in different locations have been put forward to develop a marina in Shute Harbour. None have ever been delivered.
Shute Harbour is at the end of a narrow, winding road which makes a quick trip to the Airlie Beach shops difficult. But a small residential community does enjoy the secluded location overlooking the bay and islands.
Shute Harbour has proven a dangerous location during a cyclone. There are still boats unable to be retrieved from deep in mangroves where they were dumped by high waves and wind. The only access road can be cut-off for days by fallen debris or washouts.
This spectacular location is surrounded by mangroves and Conway National Park.
It is a fish breeding habitat, has seagrass beds and coral reefs.
Whales and calves frequent the entrance.
Sightings logged with the Great barrier Reef Marina Park’s sightings network include dolphins, dugongs, fish nurseries, rays and any number of marine species.
The marina proposed is nothing less than a ‘real estate play’.
A marina used as justification to reclaim seabed and build a series of 5 storey buildings in the bay for private homes – a suburb on the seabed.
The plan does not take climate change into account. Building on reclaimed land in a storm surge area supposedly protected by a rock wall (that is not for Category 5 or above cyclones) is a disaster waiting to happen.
Like Hinchinbrook marina, it is a marina in the wrong location.
Deep silts caused unplanned major Geotech construction problems and budget blowouts in the adjacent Council jetty re-development after cyclone Debbie. The same is likely for the proposed marina site.
To make matters even worse; in a deal that disadvantages Ratepayers, council has signed an agreement to accept the site into the town plan “EARLY”.
What this means, unlike Hinchinbrook – a private development site – or even Port of Airlie which still costs ratepayers millions in discounted deals with Council – ratepayers will pay to fix up the site and its infrastructure in the event of a cyclone.
Shute Harbour Marina has a DEVELOPMENT LEASE ONLY.
Nothing can be sold off a development lease. Buyer beware.
Will it even be insurable?
IS THE LEASE IN BREACH? The developer has not been able to meet a major financial condition of the approval. Their extension expired in July 2022, but we were advised by the Department of Resources on 9 Sep 2022 that in July 2022, “a modification of the milestone dates was approved”!
Extract from the lease:
Lease for a Term of Years No.239765 commenced on 11 May 2017.
Section 9. Minimum Expenditure
1. Despite anything else, the Lessee will be taken to have not complied with the conditions of this Lease if the Lessee has not expended a minimum expenditure of $43 000 000.00 in respect of Works for Stage 1 within 3 years and 6 months from the date of the issue of this Lease.
2. Expenditure for condition 9(1) consists of actual construction costs, Approvals, application costs, consultant’s fees, rates and other levies and charges and rent but does not include GST on those amounts.
3. Failure to meet the minimum expenditure requirement in condition 9(1) is a default under this Lease.
SOF and Shute Harbour Residents Assoc has long advocated that if another marina is needed in the region, the most suitable location would be the existing basin in Bowen.