Barham basks in the $50m resort decision

By MEGAN KINNINMENT

BYRON Shire mayor Jan Barham is celebrating retail giant Gerry Harvey's decision to pull the $50 million, 92-apartment Byron at Byron resort off the market.

"It's good news," she said.

Gerry Harvey revealed this week that he had stopped all sales of the apartments, despite more than a year's expensive national marketing.

"I'd much rather see the development run as a managed tourism resort than sold off as a psuedo-residential development," Cr Barham said.

"That is exactly the same fears we hold for the Becton development (at Belongil Beach). That it would be sold off as holiday homes, but used as permanent residential homes.

"The area is zoned tourism, not residential.

"We need dedicated tourism areas to take the pres- sure off residential areas being used as holiday accommodation."

While Mr Harvey was guarded about his reasons for cancelling the sales, sources close to the project say the Byron at Byron development has been dogged by problems resulting in blown-out costs of millions of dollars which, coupled with a slumped market, would make selling the units unprofitable.

Mr Harvey told The Northern Star this week he would instead run the resort as a managed complex, concentrating on developing the conference business.

However, the resort faces further uncertainty over when it can officially open, as project managers battle Byron Shire Council over several breaches of the development consent granted by the Land and Environmental court.

The council has indicated it will not provide an occupation certificate until the breaches have been rectified, or new development applications are assessed for the changes Mr Harvey has made in sewage disposal.

Mr Harvey has been described as 'ropeable' over the delays.



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