TRIABUNNA is set to become a tourism powerhouse after plans to convert the former Gunns Triabunna Wood Chip Mill into a multimillion-dollar tourist venture were announced yesterday.
Wotif founder and site co- owner Graeme Wood will transform the site into a multi-purpose facility, which he said would start a new era for the once prominent East Coast forestry town.
Titled Spring Bay Mill, the development will include a marina to provide access to Maria Island and hopefully attract cruise ships, accommodation, a cultural hub for artists and students, residential short courses and workshops, plus a culinary school and food garden designed by Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens experts.
The mill closed in July 2011, before Mr Wood and Kathmandu founder Jan Cameron bought the site for a reported $10 million.
"The repurposing of the mill is a chance to exploit the natural beauty of the region and ensure that it is appreciated and treasured by generations to come," Mr Wood said.
"This is the start of a long- term plan to create a development at Triabunna that provides local jobs, invests in the region and highlights the environmental strength and beauty of the area."
Glamorgan Spring Bay Mayor Bertrand Cadart said the development had the potential to transform Tasmania almost as much as the MONA art museum.
He said it would provide links to other East Coast towns such as Swansea, Bicheno, Coles Bay and St Helens.
"I don't think the East Coast, let alone Tasmania, has ever seen anything like it," Cr Cadart said.
"He (Mr Wood) could easily leave his $5 million sitting there, he does not have to do this and now he is going to involve the whole community in his vision."
The industrial infrastructure will be included in the design and construction will be financially covered by the two environmentalists until other investors jump on board.
The site will undergo rehabilitation throughout December and January with conceptual designs already developed and planning approval process under way.
Spring Bay Mill will host the Australian Chamber Orchestra and Friends in January as part MONA FOMA.