It was supposed to become one of the world’s most attractive offshore tourist resorts but Double Island is littered with rubbish while its beaches erode away.
It was supposed to become one of the world’s most attractive offshore tourist resorts but Double Island is littered with rubbish while its beaches erode away.

Demand for developer's eviction over trashed island

IT WAS supposed to become one of the world's most attractive offshore tourist resorts but instead Double Island is littered with growing piles of rubbish while its beaches erode away.

Cairns Regional Council is demanding action from the State Government after years of waiting for Double Island Resort developer Benny Wu's big promises to come true.

The council carried out inspections in 2017 and 2019 that revealed the full extent of deterioration that had occurred on the once pristine island off the coast of Palm Cove.

Concerns have been raised about the management of Double Island Resort, which has been left in a state of disrepair for years. Picture: Marc McCormack
Concerns have been raised about the management of Double Island Resort, which has been left in a state of disrepair for years. Picture: Marc McCormack

Both inspections uncovered a litany of breaches to Mr Wu's Fortune Island Holding Company lease over the island, which expires in 2099.

The lease of Double Island is for tourism purposes, but it has had few humans except for a live-in caretaker for the past four years.

The lessee must ensure vegetation is managed, all improvements are kept in good repair, and mooring facilities are provided to the general public who wish to visit the island.

It is understood the council has written to the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy saying its inspections had concerns those conditions were not being met.

Division 9 Councillor Brett Olds said the island was in no shape to provide any kind of tourism benefit whatsoever.

Division 9 Councillor Brett Olds has called for the Double Island lease holder to be removed if the resort did not resume operations. Picture: Marc McCormack
Division 9 Councillor Brett Olds has called for the Double Island lease holder to be removed if the resort did not resume operations. Picture: Marc McCormack

He said inspectors had found general and construction waste accumulating with no storage measures in place and mooring deteriorated to an unusable level.

Significant coastal erosion resulting in up to nine metres of shoreline regression where the future esplanade precinct is set to be built was observed, causing multiple casuarina trees and coconut palms to be uprooted.

The inspections also found chemicals and bulk fuel were being incorrectly stored, with generators required for electricity since mains power from the mainland had not been achieved - in conflict with the island's development management plan.

Issues were also observed with the fire emergency plan and the non-provision of fire safety equipment and vegetation clearing.

Chinese billionaire developer Benny Wu. PICTURE: ANNA ROGERS
Chinese billionaire developer Benny Wu. PICTURE: ANNA ROGERS

Cr Olds said anyone who had a lease over Double Island needed to be serious about developing and maintaining it as a tourist resort.

If not, he said they should be given their marching orders.

"He's had a fair crack. He's been there for a lot of years," he said.

Member for Barron River Craig Crawford said he was "happy to work with anyone" to come to a solution about Double Island.

"In this COVID-19 recovery we are not in a position to turf out developers from the country right now," Mr Crawford said.

"We would prefer to work with Mr Wu," he said.

Mr Wu has been asked for comment.

Originally published as Council demands action over littered tourist island


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