Village at Great Barrier Reef looks to become Whitsundays look-alike

Village at Great Barrier Reef looks to become Whitsundays look-alike

A humble village at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef could become a Whitsundays look-alike, with luxury apartments and a cyclone safe marina.

Burnett Heads in the Bundaberg region is located 4.5 hours north of Brisbane, but with a population of just 2,900 it seems to be a world away from the hustle and bustle of any major city.

Residents wave to each other along the harbour-front bicycle tracks and are happy to strike up a conversation with an unfamiliar face, especially if it's about fishing.

The $250 million Gateway marina development is a big talk around town, with dredging work signalling the start of the first stage of the project this month.

BeauGroup director Simon Harvey said that his Sydney-based firm had taken on the project in 2016.

The first stage has 46 residential apartments and 318 marina berths, which are difficult to secure across Australia's eastern seaboard, according to Mr Harvey.

He said we have got a safe sheltered harbour here, outside of the cyclone belt.

The construction of the apartments is expected to start in the second quarter of 2023, with marina berths to be delivered before that.

The plans for hospitality, retail and tourist services are what Mr Harvey said will transform the area into a vibrant lifestyle and leisure precinct.

There are mixed feelings in the community about the development plans.

Peggy Chashen, who moved from Brisbane earlier this year and lives across the road from the marina, said she was looking forward to more amenities.

She said the berthing for the boat, more shops, and more attractions to Burnett Heads was on the back of the boat.

He said that he hopes they do a good job, that we'll be able to ride down here and go to a coffee shop.

The impact on turtles was the biggest environmental consideration, according to Harvey.

He said that included adopting conditions such as turtle-friendly lighting and choosing a paint colour that reduces reflection from the buildings.

"We have developed a lot of conditions for our development that are related to turtle preservation and turtle protection," Mr Harvey said.

Sea Turtle Alliance president Ainsley Gatley said the group was not opposed to the development but wanted Bundaberg Regional Council to make sure light reduction initiatives were implemented.

Light pollution is the biggest concern, we need to make sure we minimise light pollution, she said.

He believed that the climate and proximity to the Great Barrier Reef and Fraser Island would interest many buyers, and he believes that the climate and proximity to the Great Barrier Reef and Fraser Island would be a factor in the decision.

Byron Bay in northern New South Wales, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Noosa has become extremely expensive, he said.

We can provide a product of the same quality, if not better, at a better price point.

There are two World Heritage listed assets that are accessible, the reef and Fraser Island. You've got a beautiful climate and it's accessible to a major city in Brisbane.