Clive Palmer’s sky needle casino plans leave locals feeling prickly

Eccentric billionaire Clive Palmer has already suggested no less than a run for Parliament and a replica of the Titanic during 2012. Now, he wants to build a new sky needle-type casino – but local residents are having none of it.

According to Fairfax, Clive Palmer wants to build a new casino and hotel development at the Coolum Resort on the Sunshine Coast, which he took over earlier this year.

A presentation apparently includes plans for a 20-storey sky needle, along with another 10-storey building with a casino, shopping centre, waterpark, giant wheel and an aquarium.

But the Sunshine Coast council says the area where the project is planned is protected by conservation laws.

“The vegetated east-west parabolic dune, which bounds the Hyatt Regency Golf Course.?.?. is a significant local landform and is to be retained in its natural condition,” the council’s planning scheme states.

“Paperbark rainforest has been found on the Hyatt Regency Golf Course site. This vegetation community is extremely rare and warrants protection.”

Former local councillor Debbie Blumel told the publication Palmer will have trouble getting the development up not only due to government issues, but also because of the local community’s sense of ownership of the area.

“About 4,000 people objected to developing a bike path in that area – and that was the highest number of objections in the history of [the] Sunshine Coast. I think that gives you a sense of the community outrage.”

However, the report comes only a couple of weeks after Palmer said in a press conference he wasn’t necessarily planning on building a casino.

“You have to be very careful with things like that becaues they destroy communities and create gambling problems for people,” he said, according to the Sunshine Coast Daily.

“That is not something I want to be associated with.”

Palmer has been vague about his plans for the resort so far. 

The Coolum Resort was the centre of controversy earlier this year when it was placed in administration amid a court battle over its ownership and management.

Palmer attempted to have Hyatt, the hotel’s operator, thrown out but a court order prevented that move. Palmer ultimately paid a settlement fee for a transferral of management.




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