A $10MILLION resort at Iluka is in the planning stages with a development application due to be presented to Clarence Valley Council early next year.
Aimed at tapping into the seaside village's surfing and lifestyle appeal, Gold Coast investor Derk Vanderbent of Surf&Yoga P/L plans to build the resort at the site of the derelict service station at the corner of Russell and Spenser Sts.
Mr Vanderbent has put together the initial concept design with his wife Julie and son Marc. He believes the development will create a "fresh and modern look" for one of Iluka's most prominent commercial corners.
"The new resort will create a much-needed holiday destination venue for an area seriously lacking in motel and resort facilities," Mr Vanderbent said.
"We have designed the resort to be low key and to blend with the charming Iluka village atmosphere."The 40-room resort, still in the concept stage, will include a swimming pool, spa, rooftop yoga deck, a corner cafe/restaurant, function facilities and basement security parking.
"It is being planned to be sports themed with accommodation ranging from rooftop spa-suites and family rooms to bunk rooms for golfing, bowling and other sporting groups," Mr Vanderbent said.
The site has remained unoccupied for the past 14 years because of environmental concerns due to the fuel tanks still on site. According to Mr Vanderbent, initial NSW EPA investigations revealed no significant soil or water contamination, with the tanks due to be removed this week and buildings demolished soon after.
"We took a punt on it. It could've been contaminated," he said. "But we were told by experts that this was a very low probability, and the first tests have come up clean.
"Most people we've spoken to are excited the old service station is finally going to go."
The removal of several trees at the site two weeks ago angered some nearby residents and Clarence Valley Council received a number of related inquiries.However, environment, planning and community director Des Schroder confirmed the developer had not violated any development guidelines. "Council officers had inspected the site and all tree removals were allowable under the development control plan for the area," Mr Schroder said. Mr Vanderbent said initial discussions with council had been positive and praised the development processes it has in place. "The DMU (development management unit) process council has for checking concepts preliminary to lodging a DA is very helpful. It stops you making mistakes on your DA. "A development application is due to be presented to council early in the new year and at that time will be advertised for public comment." The Vanderbent family plan to retain a major share and are keen to involve the local community in both the building and investment phase.