Former Coolum Hyatt boss supports Sekisui
CLIVE Palmer's mothballed Coolum resort has been described as "mortally wounded" by the hotel boss who attracted the PGA and CHOGM to the Sunshine Coast resort in the early 2000s.
Former Hyatt Regency Coolum general manager Richard S. Stedman said the only way to resuscitate the beachside community was with a development such as Sekisui's Yaroomba Beach.
In a letter believed to have been sent to the Sunshine Coast Regional Council, Mr Stedman, who is now based in Mauritius, said Coolum needed a new tourism "icon" to replace the ambitious, but flawed, former Hyatt resort.
Public consultation has opened on the Sekisui development, which proponents say will provide thousands of jobs. Opponents argue high-rise will ruin the area.
"The Hyatt Regency Coolum was an ambitious project that was beneficially transformative in many ways, environmentally, economically as well as tourism," the letter says. "It required years of ownership and management dedication to place Coolum and the resort on the tourism map, from which many have benefited in the past and still benefit to some degree today.
"However the legacy of some design decisions (low-rise, density and layout) resulted in inefficiencies that greatly reduced profit ratios (compared to industry norms)."
Mr Stedman said that in his professional opinion, the Palmer Resort was now mortally wounded and could never recover.
"The Sunshine Coast, and Coolum in particular, now requires a new tourism icon, not only for its positioning but also for its tourism economy," he said. "A new development such as the proposed Westin Resort at Yaroomba Beach is, in my judgment, a critical requirement for the Sunshine Coast."
Palmer Coolum Resort owner Clive Palmer declined to comment.
The Yaroomba Beach developers have recently adopted changes that include a new roof top bar open to the public.