A new 22 tent glamping site has been approved at the Kur-cow tourist attraction and farm in Kuranda.
At the Mareeba Shire Council meeting on Wednesday, Council approved the new development subject to conditions.
According to Council minutes, the two stages of the development will proceed as follows. Stage 1 – tented camps for 28 persons, in the form of 14 x 1 bedroom tents and Stage 2 – Tented camps for 26 persons, in the form of 5 x 2 bedroom tents and 3 x 1 bedroom tents.
Council found that “It is recommended that the application be approved in full, subject to conditions.”
Some of those conditions include; that no more than 54 persons are to be accommodated on-site in the tents and no more than 150 tourists/visitors are permitted on-site at any time.
MSC Mayor Tom Gilmore told The Express “An application came before Council for glamping at a nature-based tourist attraction in Kuranda which will provide accommodation for people visiting the site,” Said Mayor Gilmore.
“Council was pleased to approve the application which is seen to be an excellent opportunity for a new unique tourism experience to the region.
“The application was very comprehensive in so far as it demonstrated that the proposed development meets all the town planning requirements for a nature-based tourism attraction.”
According to Mark Lawson, Development Manager of Reever and Ocean Group, it’s been both good and bad news.
“At the moment all tourism enterprises are really suffering due to the COVID-19 (formerly known as Coronavirus virus) and the related China ban,” said Mr Lawson.
“Our numbers are down from about 150 people per day to 10 to 15 people per day through the typically busy Chinese New Year period.
“So we won’t be able to start building until the market conditions improve.”
The downward spiral has also seen some staff restructuring.
“We have had to shuffle around some of our casual staff due to the dramatic drop in tourist numbers.”
KUR-Cow also made an application to the MSC for emergency approval “to allow for self-drive tourists until June 30, 2020.”
At the moment The KUR-Cow farm is restricted to bussed tourists only. Reever and Ocean requested that Council allow for self-drive tourists until June 30, 2020.
Mark Lawson says this is only temporary until tourist numbers bounce back.
“We are only asking to allow a limited number of self-drivers for a temporary time.”
“Nobody could have predicted what COVID-19 was going to do to our tourism industry.
“We are not asking for a hand out from the Council, just a temporary lift of our conditions to allow self-drivers and locals to access the KUR-Cow farm, while the virus is hurting group in-bound tourism numbers.”
Mareeba Shire Mayor Tom Gilmore said in principle, Council agreed to urgently consider an application to allow self-drive visitors access the tourist attraction.
“In response to the recent bushfires and Coronavirus emergency and the effect these events are having on the tourism industry, Council moved as a matter of urgency in an attempt to ensure the business can continue to operate during these difficult circumstances,” he said.
“Furthermore, the livelihoods of those working at the nature-based tourism attraction have been put into jeopardy and they may well lose their jobs if there is a lasting negative impact on the tourism industry.”
Council asked that the development application be delegated to the CEO due to the urgency of the matter and also due to the impending election.
At the Moment KUR-Cow is offering 50% off the entry price for locals. Entry includes the mini animals, hayride and cattle feeding. Bookings are essential.
KUR-Cow Barnwell Farm is located at 112 Barnwell Road, Kuranda.