Minister weighs in on five-star resort

By Chris Thomson

IN the face of local opposition, regional development minister Alannah MacTiernan has swung her substantial political weight behind the luxury resort planned for Goode Beach.

Ms MacTiernan, a former state planning minister with wide experience overseeing coastal approvals processes, said the principle of “high-quality, low-rise, five-star accommodation in Albany” was “good and much-needed”.

“Obviously this project needs to go through all the planning and environmental approvals, but in principle the idea of having a high-quality tourism facility that I think will be built very sensitively is a good thing for this region,” she told The Weekender.

“We all know The Great Southern is one of the most spectacular regions in Australia. We all know there is a lack of five-star accommodation here and that we need to address that.”

Ms MacTiernan, who has a house in Albany, said it was not news to anyone that the Great Southern needed “critical mass”.

“We’ve got people down here that need jobs,” she said.

“We’re not talking about turning it into Perth, but we need to have some diversity in the accommodation types that are around and so the principle of having a development like the Bunker Bay development is a really positive one.

“From our experience, when you get developers that understand what they’re doing, they don’t want to destroy the natural environment either because that’s the goose that lays the golden egg.”

In a near-unanimous vote, members of The Frenchman Bay Association recently decided to oppose the 51-unit project between Lake Vancouver and Goode Beach.

Albany council candidate for Vancouver Ward, Matt Benson-Lidholm, a onetime ALP colleague of Ms MacTiernan’s in State Parliament, said he could not support the resort.

“My understanding is that this site is a biodiversity hotspot,” he said.

“It’s huge in terms of migratory birds that fly in from the Northern Hemisphere.”

Mr Benson-Lidholm, a regional development consultant who has inspected the site, also raised concerns about staff and tourist traffic along La Perouse Road if the resort were to go ahead.

Public comments on a structure plan for the project, drafted by the architects of the luxury Bunker Bay resort and dubbed by them ‘Vancouver Beach Resort’, closed on Monday.