Frenchies’ last resort

By Chris Thomson | posted on June 14, 2018

DEVELOPERS have been granted twice as long as usual to build a tourist resort at Frenchman Bay, which has been on the drawing board in one shape or another since 2009.

As revealed last week (‘Frenchies resort approval primed’, June 7), the $10 million project came to a State-convened assessment panel on Monday with a recommendation of approval from City of Albany staff.

In an hour-long meeting, the panel – comprising three State-appointed planners, Albany Mayor Dennis Wellington and his councillor colleague Bill Hollingworth – unanimously approved the 24-villa resort and 76-seat cafe.

But not before David Congdon of Harley Dykstra planners, acting on behalf of land–owner MTK Ventures, sought an extension of the allowable completion timeframe from two to four years.

Mr Congdon said the extra time was needed to monitor groundwater before construction commenced, and to comply with management plans mandated for the elevated beachfront site that commands majestic views over King George Sound.

He said the caravan park, which closed in 2006, had been “an important meeting place” for the Albany community and the resort would “reintroduce this offering” in a contemporary way.

If built as approved, the resort will be the end of a protracted process that in 2009 saw Dykstra Planning unsuccessfully apply for 100 units at the site on behalf of an entity called Frenchman Bay 5 Star Resort Unit Trust.

More recently, MTK Ventures withdrew an application for 30 units, including 10 unrestricted-stay ones, after 28 objections were lodged.

Mr Congdon said the approvals process for the current project had been “a lengthy journey”.

Cr Hollingworth agreed.

“It certainly has taken a bit of time to come together,” he said.

Mr Wellington said planning conditions for the resort were “extensive and very well worked out by all parties”.

“I think it will be a very, very good development,” he added.

At the meeting, Frenchman Bay Association President Catherine Macdonald said the residents’ lobby group supported the resort “in general”, provided all conditions were complied with “in full”.

Last year, her predecessor Tony Kinlay (‘Goode plan, wrong place’, October 19) and Traditional Custodian Lynette Knapp (‘A mighty Wagyl breathes here’, November 23) said a resort at the defunct van park would be better, environmentally and culturally, than one planned for a greenfield site at nearby Goode Beach.