Coun­cil ap­proves multi-mil­lion dol­lar de­vel­op­ment at Wood­wark

Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Sharon Small­wood

AP­PROVALS have just been granted for a new Whit­sun­day re­sort that aims to take guests back in time to the Air­lie Beach of old.

Named ‘Free­dom Shores’ and lo­cated off Pringle Road in the pic­turesque sub­urb of Wood­wark, the de­vel­op­ment, aimed at the back­packer mar­ket, is the brain­child of lo­cal res­i­dent Tim Moon and his project man­ager Ken Meighan.

To­gether, the pair have come up with the con­cept of build­ing a “fake ma­rina” us­ing pre-loved tim­ber boats, con­verted to dou­ble cab­ins with kitch­enettes and en­suites.

Ren­o­va­tions are al­ready un­der­way on the property’s ex­ist­ing house, which will be trans­formed into an additional 10-room dwelling.

Mr Moon has also re­ceived ap­proval to build a tav­ern, con­fer­ence cen­tre, gen­eral store and an­i­mal hospi­tal be­side the ad­join­ing beach, all of which will be open to the gen­eral pub­lic.

Mr Moon, who puts the es­ti­mated cost of the en­tire project at some­where be­tween $5-6mil­lion, says the over­all aim is for “a re­laxed at- mo­sphere like Air­lie Beach used to be”.

“It’ll be budget ac­com­mo­da­tion but with a dif­fer­ence – a bit of fun,” he said.

“No shirt, no shoes, no wor­ries – we’re try­ing to bring a bit of the old­school, good vibes Air­lie Beach back, where kids can be kids, mum and dad can re­lax and back­pack­ers can lie by the pool.” Mr Moon was born in Syd­ney but now lives in the Whit­sun­days and pre­vi­ously owned the Jetty Wa­ter Sports at the Co­ral Sea Re­sort.

The land at Wood­wark came to his at­ten­tion af­ter it was pre­vi­ously ear-marked for a 100-house de­vel­op­ment.

At the time, Mr Moon and Mr Meighan were talk­ing about the pos­si­bil­ity of buy­ing and con­vert­ing the sunken tall ship Whit­sun­day Magic into a pub and it was this that led them to the idea of turn­ing boats into cab­ins.

“I think you have to be novel these days – it’s all been done, so we de­cided to take boats that were on their last legs and bring them back,” Mr Meighan said.

Whit­sun­day mayor Jennifer Whit­ney said when the de­velop- ment first came be­fore Coun­cil she was ini­tially sur­prised.

“But I think it’s quite quirky and I think it would work,” she said.

“New tourism projects are just the best way to go and as a Coun­cil, we wish them the best of suc­cess.”

The re­sort is ex­pected to be able to ac­com­mo­date up to 70 people. Mr Moon says plans are un­der­way to open the tav­ern and an­i­mal hospi­tal by the end of this year.

Mr Moon and Mr Meighan are still search­ing for more pre-loved boats and would like to hear from any­one who could con­trib­ute to the de­sign and run­ning of the an­i­mal hospi­tal.

They can be con­tacted on 0417 207 621 or 0400 712 288.

QUIRKY: Whit­sun­day res­i­dents Tim Moon and Ken Meighan stand­ing be­side the site where a new tav­ern, gen­eral store and an­i­mal hospi­tal were ap­proved to be built. Mr Moon is hold­ing the over­all site plan for the en­tire re­sort, which was ap­proved last week.

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