Daily seeks answers on resort
CHERRABAH owner Wenxing Ma said this week it took him one hour to decide to buy the Elbow Valley resort in 2004.
Through a translator, at a special council meeting on Monday, Mr Ma said the Warwick area was beautiful and when he bought the resort he always planned to develop it to share with as many people as possible.
Planning approval was given at Monday’s meeting for an 846 hectare resort expansion, which could house 1481 permanent residents and 1900 tourists.
But Mr Ma still has to get the nod from the Federal Government, which is looking into the presence of the endangered spotted-tailed quoll.
At Monday’s meeting a representative of consultants Urbis, which have been employed by Mr Ma, said the company had been looking at the social and economic benefits of the development.
She said the project “represented significant investment in the regional economy” and would create 482 jobs, half directly and half indirectly.
She said it would “value-add” $265 million during development and $733 million during the operation phase, year on year.
The Daily News contacted Urbis yesterday to ask for more information on these figures, in particular where they had come from, but a spokeswoman said she was “unable to facilitate an answer”.
The Daily News also asked about the resort’s target market, if plans took into account the demographic of permanent residents and, if they were of a working age, where they would find employment locally, but received no answer.
Little is known about Mr Ma himself.
He declined to have his photo taken with the Daily News this week but gave us a business card detailing him as the chairman of the board for Royal Duke Opulent Investment and Development Co Ltd from the Guangdong Province of China.
Subsidiary companies on the card list Aquamarine International Tour & Amusement, Joyful View Garden Real Estate, Cherrabah Resort and Nanxing Real Estate along with others.
However, developments at the Elbow Valley site could be a windfall for local construction companies should contracts be awarded in the region.
Matthew Collins of MBC Constructions attended Monday’s meeting and said he was in discussion with the owners.
“It would be good for the town and for employment,” he said.
“We are just in negotiations at the moment but we are keen to be involved.”
His sentiments were echoed by council economic development officer John Randall, who said the expansion could “deliver significant economic benefits to the Southern Downs”.
“If everything goes ahead as per the plans that I’ve seen, there will be millions of dollars of construction work up for grabs, hopefully by local tradesmen and suppliers,” he said.
“Our local construction sector is a big part of our regional economy.
“The business opportunities at Cherrabah have the potential to be able to smooth out the traditional peaks and troughs of home building activity here in Warwick.”
Council’s planning director Ken Harris estimated the development could bring up to $800,000 of rates to council on an annual basis.
1975 Cherrabah Resort was established
2004 Mr Ma’s company purchased the resort
2006 Cherrabah ordered to pay $7000 in wages and overtime to a group of employees who lost their jobs in 2005
2007 Daily News received a statement from Vice General Manager Kurt Alexander that it would not release information to the paper, claiming to have been "misquoted and “misrepresented”
2008 Pre approval was given by council for the re-development
2010-11 Cherrabah was given an increased water allocation by DERM, a planning application submitted to council and approved. There could be an appeal and Federal Government is also looking at the plans