The Spotted-tailed quoll.
The Spotted-tailed quoll. Bruce Thomson

Mega-resort still on hold

PLANS for the multi-million dollar expansion of the Cherrabah Resort east of Warwick remain on hold, with the owners yet to provide extra information to the Federal Department of the Environment.

China-based owners the Joyful View Garden Real Estate Development Resort applied in 2008 for council approval to transform the bush retreat into an international tourist drawcard capable of accommodating nearly 1900 visitors at a time.

The proposal would also see up to 1500 permanent residents living in luxury villa-style accommodation.

The Southern Downs Regional Council approved the final plan in June 2011 but it has become stuck in a mire of court appeals and federal environmental approvals.

Joyful View objected to a range of council conditions of approval and began court action in May 2012, but this is on hold pending federal approval of the project.

A spokeswoman for Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt told the Daily News Joyful View was yet to respond to a departmental request for further information on sensitive species on the 452 hectare site.

"The environmental assessment by the department under national law will look at the project's potential impacts on nationally protected matters," the spokeswoman said yesterday.

"These include the Hastings River mouse, the New Holland Mouse, the spot-tailed quoll and the natural grasslands on basalt and fine-textured alluvial plains of the northern NSW and southern Queensland Ecological Community.

"The Department of Environment has requested further information from the company for the environmental impact assessment under national environment law.

"Timing for that information to be provided is in the hands of the company.

"The department has had contact with the proponent on some of the detail of the proposal. Once the extra information is provided in full, the assessment will be finalised."

The spokeswoman said once the assessment process was complete Minister Hunt "will carefully consider the assessment, the advice of the department, and all public comments received before deciding whether this proposal can go ahead".

The Cherrabah plan also includes staff accommodation, resort administration, a conference centre and restaurant, recreational facilities and associated landscaping, access and car parking.

Cherrabah's owners were unable to be contacted yesterday and a spokesman for their solicitors, CBP Lawyers, said he could not comment on the status of the court appeal due to client confidentiality.

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