An artist’s impression of what the new-style cabins will look like in their landscape setting.
The owners behind the North Byron Beach Resort project at Belongil, formerly the site for the proposed controversial Club Med which sparked local protests 25 years ago, are opening the doors of the site for tours by locals as revised plans for a much more eco-friendly resort move ahead.
Today, a plan to modify 75 of a possible 193 cabins on the 88-hectare site go on public exhibition for a month and locals are being encouraged to tour the site with project team to hear the details first hand.
The tours for locals will be conducted by Peggy Flannery, wife of mining magnate Brian Flannery who bought the site with the old resort approval from the Becton Group almost four years ago, and project manager Jeremy Holmes.
They say the revised design is ‘landscape driven’ where ‘nature is dominant’ instead of the buildings, with a focus on the revegetated natural landscape and revitalised water corridors.
A development application for central facilities such as administration and restaurant to service the cabin accommodation is expected to be lodged with Byron Shire Council within a few months and construction could follow early next year.
The project also includes an approved bistro on Bayshore Drive to be built at the same time as the resort, which is now only planned to cover a tenth of the footprint of the site.
The site also has consent for the staging of a limited number of small cultural events for a trial period of two years but events are yet to be planned.
The developers also are working on a plan for a guest and community rail shuttle from Bayshore Drive into town.
A local resident told Echonetdaily he was confident the environmental values of the site would be respected, in some part due to community concerns expressed over the past year in submissions and to local media about the project.
Those concerns, he said, had also ‘proved effective in raising the importance of maintaining the amenity for the neighbouring community’.
The new resort plans have been revised from the old approvals for the former Club Med/Becton site.
The latest plan to modify 75 of the cabins involves making them smaller overall than the Becton housing proposed and, according to project managers, more in keeping with a landscape theme.
Mr Holmes said the resort approval and design was ‘more reflective of our vision for small single-storey cabins dotted throughout the landscape and is the appropriate design response to the sensitive site conditions.
‘The cabins sit lightly on the land, are low scale and in keeping with the eco resort ethos we are striving toward,’ Mr Holmes said.
‘There is also a complete road network and other services already constructed under this consent, which we will continue to use.’
As part of the resort proposal, the current public road and beach access will be upgraded to include car parking, pedestrian walkways, a beach shower, public toilet, bins and a cafe/kiosk open to the public.
‘Of the 7.9 hectares proposed to be developed for the 75 cabins and resort central facilities, the total building footprint will be only 8,000m² or around 10 per cent,’ Mr Holmes said.
‘Our design response has been landscape driven. We are seeking to achieve an interweaving of low key buildings and landscape where nature is dominant, not buildings.
‘The focus is on the revegetated natural landscape and revitalised water corridors.’
Mr Holmes said plans were also underway to set up an ‘Eco Interpretive Educational Centre’ on the land where ‘local education providers can share with students and guests the unique ecological aspects of the littoral rainforest and other sensitive ecosystems in this proximity’.
A letterbox drop inviting locals on the 30-minute tours went out to Sunrise and the arts and industry estate yesterday.
To book tours or to receive email updates call 9475 5440 or go to the project website at