Vi­sion to bol­ster tourism at Agnes

Time is ripe to trans­form

NewsMail - - NEWS - TE­GAN ANNETT

THE Glad­stone De­vel­op­ment Board has thrown its sup­port be­hind bol­ster­ing up the strug­gling coastal tourism towns Agnes Wa­ter and Seven­teen Seventy.

Chair­man Leo Zussino’s vi­sion for the Dis­cov­ery Coast is as a re­tire­ment and tourism hub which of­fers day trips to Lady Mus­grave Is­land and Fitzroy La­goon to hun­dreds of peo­ple every day.

With Chinese tourism ex­pected to grow to more than three mil­lion by 2025, Mr Zussino said the time was ripe to take ad­van­tage of po­ten­tially the largest up­surge in over­seas tourism in Aus­tralia’s his­tory.

He said the de­vel­op­ment board’s fo­cus on trans­form­ing the re­gions into a ma­jor reef day trip launch­ing point and eco-tourism cen­tre has gained sup­port by the Queens­land tourism min­is­ter Kate Jones.

But its vi­a­bil­ity is de­pen­dent on the trav­el­ling dis­tance from Glad­stone be­ing re­duced to 60 min­utes, and re­solv­ing the dan­ger­ously shal­low Round Hill Creek in­let safety is­sue.

“The Glad­stone De­vel­op­ment Board com­mis­sioned a study by Aure­con which de­tails a suit­able road and we are pur­su­ing this op­tion vig­or­ously with the Queens­land Govern­ment, with the full sup­port of our lo­cal State MP Glenn Butcher,” Mr Zussino said.

1770 Shut­tle Tours owner Richard Schultz said the re­gion’s tourism num­bers had suf­fered from past tragedies in­clud­ing mul­ti­ple flood­ing events, the sink­ing of the Spirit of 1770 and the Cast­away plane crash.

He was sup­port­ive of the push for more day trips to the reef and mak­ing the Round Hill Creek in­let safe.

While he said Agnes Wa­ter had a range of tourism ac­tiv­i­ties, most tourists visit the re­gion for the reef trip.

“The Lady Mus­grave Cruise op­er­a­tors have started up again, but we need a big­ger boat,” he said.

“With what was said at the lun­cheon I think it’s very ex­cit­ing, and it’s about time all of the tourism op­er­a­tors and ac­com­mo­da­tion providers start work­ing to­gether, be­cause we know there’s good things ahead of us.”

Glad­stone Ports Cor­po­ra­tion’s in­let study found the 2013 floods caused the creek to silt up.

The shal­low creek means reef op­er­a­tors are forced to transport their guests to the ves­sels moored in the bay.

It is also a ma­jor safety con­cern, with the Vol­un­teer Ma­rine Res­cue ves­sel un­able to exit the in­let at low tide.

Mr Zussino said a dredge or sand push at the creek would cost a cou­ple of hun­dred thou­sand dol­lars.

But the De­part­ment of Transport and Main Roads said they ex­pect dredg­ing to only be ef­fec­tive for a short pe­riod. The spokesper­son said it would re­sult in “costly main­te­nance works at un­pre­dictable in­ter­vals” due to weather cur­rents and storm wave ac­tion.

The de­part­ment vis­ited Round Hill Creek to in­spect the in­let’s en­trance depth ear­lier this month.

They have also car­ried out a hy­dro­graphic sur­vey to de­ter­mine the ac­tual depths avail­able for nav­i­ga­tion, with an­other sur­vey sched­uled for later this year.

I THINK IT’S VERY EX­CIT­ING, AND IT’S ABOUT TIME ALL OF THE TOURISM OP­ER­A­TORS AND AC­COM­MO­DA­TION PROVIDERS START WORK­ING TO­GETHER RICHARD SCHULTZ

Photo: Matt Tay­lor GLA120618GAPDL

BOLD PUSH: Leo Zussino speaks at the GAPDL Cruise Busi­ness Lun­cheon 2018.

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