A DREAM to surf world-class waves between the reef and rainforest is paddling ahead following the approval of a development application today.
Douglas Shire Council approved a 164-room hotel and resort featuring a wave pool, freshwater swimming lagoon, aqua park, 90 self-contained villas and surf cabins on the Captain Cook Highway, south of the Mowbray River.
The development, spear-headed by local businesses NorthBreak Developments and Hunt Design, is expected to inject more than $117.5 million worth of wages into the local economy over the construction period.
Once operational, Northbreak estimates the resort will create 740 full time jobs, attract 128,680 visitor nights and generate $79.2m in direct expenditure each year.
Douglas Shire Mayor Michael Kerr said the wave park would be a catalyst for a new era of tourism in Port Douglas and Daintree.
“This transformative project will significantly lift summer tourism by creating a world-class surfing experience and year-round swimming option down the road from Port Douglas,” he said.
“With no recognised surf breaks in the tropics, Council believes this once-in-a-generation development will attract a wave of new visitors and keep our beautiful pocket of the world at the forefront of travellers’ minds.”
“The wave park fits in nicely with our sports tourism focus and is perfectly positioned in the Mowbray Valley to complement the Wangetti Trail development.”
Council’s planning team has worked closely with NorthBreak and Hunt Design on the development application since late-2020.
The applicant has committed to a range of sustainability initiatives such as solar panels, rainwater harvesting and landscaping.
NorthBreak is also required to meet their obligations to offset their demands on Council’s water supply and sewer network, as well as contributing towards planned trunk infrastructure to service the Shire.
The development site is located on the Captain Cook Highway near an area which has recently been upgraded to accommodate vehicle parking associated with the pedestrian bridge over the Mowbray River and crocodile viewing platform.
These improvements form part of the Wangetti Trail project being delivered by the State Government.
Mayor Kerr said the wave park development would play a vital role in helping the region recover from the economic shocks felt during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“A key goal of our 2021-2024 Economic Development Strategy is to expand and diversify our tourism offering, particularly by capitalising on lucrative sports tourism and adventure markets,” he said.
“I would like to congratulate the applicants and our planning team for the immense amount of work put into this game-changing project.”