We’re just not happy Jan
15 YEARS ON: Bicheno project still dogs Jan Cameron
TASMANIAN millionaire Jan Cameron is being given the hurry-up over the redevelopment of Bicheno’s prime tourist property — the former Silver Sands Resort on the East Coast town’s waterfront — after it has sat largely unchanged for more than a decade.
There’s a lot of interest in the East Coast … and Ms Cameron has promised a lot but not delivered. We seem to have an owner who’s all talk Tasmanian Tourism Industry Council chief LUKE MARTIN
FRUSTRATION is growing about a prime tourism site on Tasmania’s East Coast that remains mostly idle more than a decade after it was bought by millionaire businesswoman Jan Cameron.
Ms Cameron’s waterfront Silver Sands resort at Bicheno, which she purchased in 2002, was closed in 2015 ahead of an expected redevelopment.
But the frustrated community is still waiting, and the state’s tourism industry chief has declared it time for Ms Cameron to deliver on her redevelopment promises.
“A lot of frustration is being felt by locals and the industry,” said Tasmanian Tourism Industry Council chief executive Luke Martin.
Mr Martin said there was a lot of pressure to find appropriate tourism accommodation sites in the region, and such a prime strip of waterfront already zoned for accommodation should not be left idle.
“There’s a lot of interest in the East Coast … and Ms Cameron has promised a lot but not delivered,” Mr Martin said.
“We seem to have an owner who’s all talk.”
Ms Cameron told the Sunday Tasmanian she was still committed to the Bicheno site, and her redevelopment plans remained in place.
“My plans have not changed,” said Ms Cameron, who lives about six months of the year in Bicheno.
She said there was no time-frame on the development at this stage, but Silver Sands would become tourism accommodation at some point in the future.
“It’s still the best location in Bicheno,” said the founder of retail chain Kathmandu.
Much of the site is behind fencing and padlocked, although some rooms of the original motel are being rented out before their expected demolition.
Glamorgan Spring Bay Mayor Michael Kent said many in the community would like to see action on the prime site.
“We have great expectations — please hurry up,” Cr Kent urged Ms Cameron.
“We’ve been hearing about it for so long.”
Speculation has been rife about the site in Bicheno for several years, with talk in 2015 that Ms Cameron was in talks with Danish designers.
But Ms Cameron never confirmed the rumours, re- vealing only that she had been “speaking to a lot of people”.
Deputy Mayor Cheryl Arnol said the inaction was surprising.
“I am surprised at the lack of progress on the redevelopment on that site,” she said.
“The whole community and council had expectations that something would happen on that site … personally I am surprised by the lack of progress.”
East Coast Tourism chief executive Ruth Dowty said it was her understanding that Ms Cameron had been in talks with architects.
“A lot of Tasmanians have very fond memories of the Silver Sands and it would be … wonderful to see something on the site — it’s a beautiful location, a really gorgeous spot,” Ms Dowty said.
While Silver Sands lies idle, pressure for development is intensifying on other areas of the East Coast — with proposals such as the $100 million Cambria Green development at Dolphin Sands sparking a community backlash.
Mr Martin said the East Coast “desperately needs” investment. He said it was a shame sites such as Silver Sands — that were already set aside for tourism accommodation — were being so under utilised.
“We are having a serious discussion in Tasmania about appropriate tourism investment so it’s frustrating when you look at that site,” he said.
He said that if Ms Cameron was no longer interested in the redevelopment, others should be given the chance to take it on.
PRIME LOCATION: Jan Cameron, pictured right with dogs Tzyu and Ruby, says she still has plans to develop the “best location in Bicheno”.
LOCKED UP: The Silver Sands site.