$22m resort upgrade moves to the next stage
THE $22m upgrade of the Aanuka Beach Resort is set to kick off mid-2021.
The plans were given the green light at the May 14 Coffs Harbour City Council meeting.
There was some strong opposition from nearby residents and some Councillors to the height and bulk of the proposed four-storey hotel. Concerns also related to the removal of trees and traffic impacts.
In addition to the 36 luxury hotel suites, plans by local architecture practice Casa Koala include a state of the art conference facility and an exclusive day spa at the Diggers Beach resort.
The lagoon conference centre and office/administration buildings will be demolished to make way for the plans.
Councillors Sally Townley, Paul Amos and John Arkan were not in favour of the proposal.
Despite the concerns Councillors Micheal Adendorff, George Cecato, Tegan Swan, Keith Rhoades and Mayor Denise Knight voted to support the upgrade.
Now Mr Booth is keen to proceed with the project which he says will help lift Coffs Harbour out of a bygone era.
"There has been little to no significant investment over the past 30 years and our poor reputation is gaining momentum," Mr Booth said.
"Competing towns like Port Macquarie and Byron Bay are progressing at a much faster rate and Coffs Harbour is being left behind.
"Coffs Harbour is looking very tired across the board and is in desperate need of a timely and contemporary offering. If we don't pursue this shortly, we risk further slipping into the shadow of a bygone era."
He says plans have already moved to the next stage with the consultants team underway on detailed design and planning work.
The hotel at the resort is currently managed by Break Free and with this lease up for renewal negotiations are now underway with a range of providers to secure a new lease.
"Discussions have commenced with various hotel operators who have demonstrated renewed interest in Aanuka and the potential to make a substantial commitment to the Coffs Coast region. These are exciting times ahead for all," Mr Booth said.
Construction works are planned to commence mid-2021, with the new resort to open late 2022.
"The resort is planned to remain open throughout this period, continuing to offer the much loved Aanuka Beach Resort conference, wedding and accommodation facilities to the Coffs Coast.
"The new and improved Aanuka will reinvent the resort which will underwrite the success of Coffs Coast tourism for the following 30 years."
Aanuka Beach Resort first opened in December 1987 and for 32 years has been a tourism icon for the region, drawing thousands of domestic and international guests.
The resort employs 120 staff and a further 80-100 service providers working within the resort to assist operations including accommodation, conferences, weddings and restaurants.
It is anticipated that the new resort will require an additional 30 staff and see a 25 per cent increase in demand for local contractors to oversee the new operations.