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30 April, 2022

Ruined resort set for revival

A MULTI-million-dollar Mareeba resort that has sat vacant and seemingly abandoned for the past two years is set to be revived, with the developer announcing a new opening date just a few years away.

By Rhys Thomas

A resort on the outskirts of Mareeba is set to be revived after the developer announced a reviewed opening date.

Located on Fichera Road, Mareeba at the DeBrueys Winery, the resort is set to contain 27 blocks of four cabins, totalling 108 rooms in addition to the winery.

The resort was the idea of international developer Benny Wu and was initially aimed at the international market, but the plan changed to a 50/50 split between domestic and international markets in the wake of the Covid pandemic.

Since the pandemic hit the resort has seemingly been abandoned with the doors splintered and falling off hinges, exposed wiring, rusting metal frames and mould creeping through the resort.

The initial construction phase of the development caused quite a stir with surrounding residents, one family even choosing to leave their “forever home” due to the development.

Nicky Tilse and her family moved out of their Fichera Road home after three decades – a difficult decision given the home was the place she associates with her children’s first steps.

“I hate it (the development), it’s one of the main reasons we moved,” she said.

“It was our little piece of paradise, our forever home.

“We just had to deal with it, what can you do – it was going to be constant, so we just thought ‘get out’.”

Now months after leaving their home, the development is still nowhere near completion and won’t be until another two years.

Due to the impact of the pandemic, the development has encountered numerous obstacles causing delays in construction.

A spokesperson for DeBrueys Winery said the resort’s opening had now been set for May 2024, and would be seeking to attract local and international travellers.

“Due to the impact of the pandemic our development has encountered many obstacles that caused delays, shortage of manpower and the supply of goods which have travel and movement restrictions,” she said.

“Works have continued onsite during this time with all underground electrical works being completed.

“This current year we have received onsite four containers of building and scaffolding materials, and an additional two containers will be arriving next month.”

An e-sports performance centre and kids indoor playground are also pencilled in with the development along with the already present attraction of the winery.

“In North Queensland we have a diverse range of attractions and activities and we want travellers to experience the complete package,” the spokesperson said.

“Having 108 rooms for short-term accommodation and a Boutique Winery, we believe people will enjoy the facilities and other local attractions within a short drive from the resort.”

The resort is expected to provide over 100 jobs while operating with the total cost of the development estimated to fall somewhere between $15-20 million.

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