Mining magnate Andrew Forrest’s mission to transform an Exmouth caravan park into a state-of-the-art eco-resort has finally gained momentum after the local council approved major planning changes.
The Shire of Exmouth recently approved a revised Local Development Plan for the Vlamingh Head precinct, providing a framework for the proposed redevelopment of the Ningaloo Lighthouse Caravan Park by Forrest’s Minderoo Group, which originally bought the land in 2017.
Shire president Matthew Niikkula said 10 submissions on the LDP had been received from the public, government departments and local organisations, raising issues from building heights to occupancy levels and environmental concerns.
“In response, council had approved the LDP with additional requirements that as part of any redevelopment application, the applicant must complete a number of studies to address these community concerns,” he said. “This included assessments that would consider potential environmental, visual and infrastructure impacts.”
A coastal hazard risk assessment, a visual landscape impact assessment, and a lighting management plan addressing the impacts of light spill on nesting turtle habitats are just three of the eight information clauses the council has called for.
A Minderoo Group spokeswoman said the group believed the assessments and strategies the Shire had requested were an important part of the development process and would provide the information needed to inform a decision on the plan.
“Minderoo has undertaken extensive flora and fauna studies in the area and will submit plans that address fauna as part of the development application requirements,” she said.
“Further, the plan we have proposed is focused on the existing caravan park area, which has been developed for over 30 years.”
Mr Niikkula believes the project could be the largest private investment Exmouth has ever seen.
“It has the potential to transform our town and drive sustained economic growth by creating year-round job opportunities, attracting long-term residents and creating opportunities for new and existing businesses,” he said.
Minderoo plans to lodge a development application with the Shire in a few months time.