The fire destroyed the former staff accommodation buildings on Great Keppel Island. Picture: Contributed
The fire destroyed the former staff accommodation buildings on Great Keppel Island. Picture: Contributed

Altum inspect fire damage at GKI resort

GREAT Keppel Island developer Altum Propety Group today inspected the damage caused by the fire that destroyed 20 former staff accommodation units on Saturday afternoon.

Police allege the fire was deliberately lit and have appealled for any witnesses who were in the area at the time of the fire to come forward with information.

Altum director Rob McCready said he spoke with residents about the escalating vandalism, which saw “further damage caused to the old resort nearly every weekend”.

“Unfortunately, where it has been broken windows and fence cutting in the past, they (offender/s) are becoming more brazen, and what we have seen this weekend is a broad daylight attack on not one, but two buildings, the second just 50m away from the first, while rural firefighters were putting out the first fire,” Mr McCready said.

“The only thing that’s going to stop the vandalism is a permanent construction presence on the island – it’s such a massive ground area to cover, no amount of fencing is going to protect it.”

Mr McCready said he had been recommending for months that the Queensland Government allow them onto the island to start cleaning up the rubbish and refurbishing the buildings.

“The state government needs to decide that this project is important for the community of Central Queensland and make it happen,” he said.

“We’re still hopeful that (Keppel MP) Brittany Lauga will commit to getting the project started before the election.”

Ms Lauga said, as lessee of the land on GKI, Tower Holdings was responsible for mitigating any fire hazard on the island.

Ms Lauga encouraged Tower to clean up the old resort.

“It is important that Tower, as lessee, takes control of their responsibilities and cleans up the mess on their island,” she said.

“After closing 12 years ago, there are still mattresses and furniture in the in the staff quarters.

“The proposed developer has looked at the re-use of those buildings and found they are beyond repair.

“To point the finger at the state government for a fire that is on the leased land, caused by an old resort they have not cleaned up, is disingenuous.”

In response to Altum claiming “the leaking of a confidential document, broken promises and months of inaction by politicians had sounded the death knell for the redevelopment of the resort at GKI”, Ms Lauga said she made no apologies for making sure all checks and balances were done for anyone who wanted to take over the leases of GKI.

“We are not just going to hand over the keys to anyone,” she said.

“We have always said we would make sure that if Altum wants to develop GKI and if they want the lease we want to make sure they have the money they say they do and the capacity to develop the resort in the way they say they want to.

“We are undergoing those checks and balances right now and Altum hasn’t been able to provide the financial guarantee they have the capitol to be able to develop this resort.

“We need to make sure Altum is able to do what they are able to say they will and at this point they haven’t provided enough information or documents to the state government.”

She said Queensland Government was still committed to GKI, with $30 million on the table to upgrade infrastructure.

“That will happen regardless of whether Altum or Tower are involved,” she said.

“Altum needs to get on with the job they committed to and that’s developing a resort for GKI.

“We are still committed to working with Altum but they need to do their bit and we are getting on with our bit.”

Police investigations into the fire are ongoing.