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23 October, 2020

Multi-million dollar resort going ahead.

Despite COVID putting a halt to international travel, one developer is still moving ahead with his dream of an international resort in Mareeba.

By Phil Brandel

Despite COVID putting a halt to international travel, one developer is still moving ahead with his dream of an international resort in Mareeba.

The development at De Brueys Boutique Winery at 189 Fichera Rd, may have slowed due to COVID, but it’s still business as usual.

The new resort has been designed by CA Architects in Cairns and when finished will consist of 27 blocks of four 4 cabins/rooms, totalling 108 rooms.

Owner and Developer Benny Wu said he was involved in mining but as he got older he decided he wanted to do something greener for the planet.

Mr Wu said, “He is focused on the resort and a wellbeing centre, he wants everything to be eco friendly and he has been thinking about a facility like this for the past 20 years.”

While the initial target demographic was Chinese travellers, that focus has changed slightly due to border closures.  The resort will be aimed at 50 per cent Australian and 50 per cent Asian travellers, with families and retirees now the new target demographic.

The winery is also planned to stay open with another bar to be added inside and to go along with the green theme sewerage, water and solar will all be supplied onsite, they are also hoping to have food grown on the property to be used in their restaurant.

While construction has slowed due to the pandemic, Mr Wu estimates they are still employing between 10 and 20 people on site, down from 50- 60 builders pre-Covid, with another 20 sub-contractors coming and going.

Once the operation is fully up and running Mr Wu said it’s expected over 100 people will be working at the resort with the total cost expected to end up around the 15 – 20 million dollar mark.

Some of the facilities will include a water and sports park, playground, catering facilities, including a restaurant and kitchen.

Even though most of the buildings are now in place, the owner and builder have decided to slow the pace down due to the border closures, so Stage 1 of the resort is now expected to open at the end of 2021.

Mr Wu’s said “Stage 2, we are looking at a water and sports park for locals and interstate travellers, which we will start work on at the end of 2021.” he said.

“Stage 3 we are looking at an online gaming facility where people from around the world can come and compete in E-Sports.

“We are hoping to have all three stages finished in the next three years.”

An artists impression of the finished accommodation. 

The initial planning development application was lodged to the Mareeba Shire Council (MSC) in December 2016 and was approved subject to conditions.

Some of those conditions include the widening of Fichera Road, a bushfire management plan as well as a minimum 5-metre wide landscape buffer along Fichera Road.

Last week MSC Mayor Angela Toppin met with the developers to discuss the development and said “It is not appropriate to discuss the details of a private meeting however the developers are committed to proceeding with the development on Fichera Road,” Mayor Toppin said.

"Council welcomes any development that will positively contribute to the Shire in terms of stimulating the local economy, supporting and creating employment opportunities.

"Mareeba Shire is a great place to live, work and invest and I look forward to seeing this development proceed."

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