Any way you look at it, Northern Tasmania owes a debt of gratitude to Josef Chromy and Errol Stewart.
The pair – friends both in business and socially – have helped drive the region’s economy at a time when other private as well as public investment has been scant.
Yesterday’s announcement by Mr Chromy’s JAC Group that it plans to build a $40 million hotel and conference centre at the TRC site in Paterson Street has helped foster an air of excitement and anticipation in the region.
Overall, it has been a good week.
Earlier, Mr Stewart’s company began pouring the foundations for its $20 million silos hotel development at North Bank. Together with the JAC development, the projects will help fill a much-needed gap in Northern Tasmania’s accommodation sector.
But the pair’s legacy to their adopted homes in Launceston goes back much further.
Mr Chromy’s JAC Group has only just put the finishing touches on his much-vaunted Penny Royal Complex project. Before than, he redeveloped the old Launceston General Hospital site in Charles Street, as well as his flagship restaurant and function centre at Relbia.
Errol Stewart built Launceston Seaport and the Seaport Marina, Peppers York Cove and Peppers Seaport Hotel at George Town and the Jackson Motor Company – one of this state’s leading automotive dealer networks.
Together, those projects of both men have employed thousands of Northern Tasmanians during not only the construction phases, but have provided ongoing employment in the hundreds every day.
Yes, they are businessmen. But they also share a passion for Northern Tasmania and a vision to see it prosper and flourish.
These latest developments come on the back of an impending start on what will be this region’s largest ever project – the $300 million University of Tasmania relocation at Inveresk.
It’s certainly going to be a good time to be a tradesman in the North over the next year or so.
Without these projects, things would be a whole lot different for the region given a scarcity of state government infrastructure spending, which is most noticeable, particularly with our already high levels of unemployment in the North and North-East.