Work begins on $200 million hot springs at 12 Apostles near Port Campbell | The standard

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Work on hot springs and a $200 million resort near the Twelve Apostles will begin this month. The development – the largest of its kind in Australia, includes 150 eco-pods, a restaurant, restaurant, cafe and amphitheatre. It will create 100 jobs during construction and hundreds more when it opens in 2024. Billed as “Australia’s largest bathing and spa operation”, planning for the project has been underway for years, but COVID- 19 put a handbrake on the start of the construction site. The delay has also pushed up the cost of the project which, when completed, could support up to 400 jobs by its third year of operation, according to those behind the development. It will be built on a 78-hectare site on Booringa Road, approximately 1.2 kilometers from the Twelve Apostles Visitor Information Centre, which is also slated for a major upgrade. The hot springs will come from water from the Paaratte formation 930 meters below ground with initial tests showing a temperature of between 42 and 44 degrees. The project also obtained Victoria’s first EPA permit to treat their own sewage and use the water to irrigate the site in addition to using the borehole to produce their own drinking water. The rainwater will also be used to irrigate a vegetable garden which will supply the restaurants on the site. The eco-pods will feature north-facing courtyards, sheltered from the wind and surrounded by 120,000 new trees that will be planted as part of a site revegetation plan. The project’s strategic director, Guy Obeid, said proponents of the proposal were ready to seek development partners two years ago but were forced to delay the process to March 2020 and then again to June 2021. He said the pandemic had delayed the start of the project by more than two years and pushed up costs, “on the other hand, the appetite for domestic tourism has increased.” Mr Obeid said he had worked with Don Musto on the project for some time, but Mark Pomeroy and Peter Quattro recently joined the team. “Their expertise is essential in helping us with the work needed to get things done,” Obeid said. “I have to admit the COVID-related delays have been a drag, but we’re so excited about this project that it’s not hard to re-energize.” that current visits to the 12 Apostles are mainly day trippers which leaves very little money in the area. “The area has so much more to offer than you can get from a pop-up visit.” Mr Obeid said the project would attract more overnight visitors who would spend more time and money in the area. “Hot spring baths are counter-seasonal, look at places like Blue Lagoon in Iceland for example, so the project should help increase visitation to the area during the winter months, which I think is a big advantage,” he said. Corangamite Mayor Ruth Gstrein, who was on the council when the project was approved in 2017, said the great work was finally beginning. “Having high-end housing along the Great Ocean Road is desperately needed,” she said. “People are looking for this premium accommodation. It’s great to see this happening.” Liz Price, regional tourism general manager for Great Ocean Road, said it was exciting because they needed something that would encourage more people to stay overnight, stay in the area longer and travel further afield. “We’re actually big supporters of this development. It’s very much in line with who we’re trying to target,” she said. She said it would be several years before international tourism returned in large numbers, but projects like this were essential for the long-term viability of the region. “Australians love to experience something new and see something different,” she said. IN OTHER NEWS Our reporters work hard to bring local, up-to-date news to the community. Here’s how you can access our trusted content: Now just one click away with our new app: Digital subscribers now have the option to receive information faster, at their fingertips with The Standard:


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