GKI investors have Rockhampton and Yeppoon in their sights
SINGAPORE-based Isabella and CK Wei have more than Great Keppel Island in their sights with plans to also develop Rockhampton and Capricorn Coast tourism.
"We love Rockhampton; initially we thought it would be a small, little cowboy town but this is such a great place," Mrs Wei said this week.
"It is not a popular destination. Nobody knows about Rockhampton but if we build this island we will also help to develop Rockhampton and Yeppoon.
"We ate the best food there, the best beef. We want everyone to know about this place and what they are missing.
"When we bring tourists over, the package will include touring Yeppoon and Rockhampton."
Rockhampton real estate agent, Pat O'Driscoll said it would likely be March 2019 when due diligence was complete and Wei Chao Pty Ltd could take over the island's leases.
Once contracts are exchanged, the Wei's hope to start development as soon as possible and say the major contractor will be "the best of the best" and "someone who feels for the island and wants to look after it".
Discussions are already underway with a number of Australian companies but they say it's too early to know how quickly things can progress.
For now they are keen to see the process completed and in their hands so they can move forward and call for tenders for the major contractor.
Discussions with the traditional owners have begun and there are plans to meet with the elders again on a more formal basis.
Mrs Wei, a former early childhood teacher, said as an investor coming to the island she felt the need to respect the Woppaburra and their stories, "because no matter what, it is still their land".
But she said any changes that may be made to the current approvals, including the location of the marina, were up to the project management team.
"Those decisions are up to the professionals, it's really not up to me," she said.
"If our project managers and the whole team think it will benefit everyone more to make changes than not to, then we'll do it.
"Always we have to listen to the professionals; I only want to try to make sure everyone is happy."
Isabella Wei and the couple's six children were educated in Australia but the purchase of Great Keppel Island is the first time they have done business in this country.
They say they have been surprised by the Australian way, which is "receiving and welcoming".
"The Queensland Government has been supporting us the whole way, so much better than Asia," they said.
"To us, the business world in Asia is a harsh world but here we work together to get things done.
"Everyone is so friendly."