The site of the Bicheno Silver Sands hotel is set to undergo a much needed face lift, with an estimated $5 million eco-friendly accommodation venture to take over the site.
The hotel was constructed during the 1960s before it stopped operation in 2015. The site has not operated as a hotel since. A development application for a new hotel was lodged in 2015, but did not progress.
Fast forward to November and a new DA was lodged for the 80 Burgess Street site, which has been owned by Jan Cameron since 2004.
The Rookery promises low density boutique accommodation and will feature 14 room options, seven campervan spaces, 14-lot car park, elevated board walks and penguin nesting boxes.
It was approved by the Glamorgan Spring Bay Council this week, subject to 26 conditions, after it discussed the development for more than an hour.
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Councillor Keith Breheny said he thought the development was a positive outcome for Bicheno.
"I must say where it's located and given it means demolishing the existing system," he said.
"It would be, I would say, for the community of Bicheno a pleasant surprise to see something new go there and something active go there. Because it has been sitting as it is for quite some time, in a manner in which some people would say looked like a lost cause."
It includes demolishing the existing hotel and constructing 12 'nests' housing 14 accommodation units at Peggy's Point.
In the application, Philip Lighton Architects director Peter Gaggin said a priority was protecting the existing penguin habitat at the site.
"Priority continues to be given to protecting the existing penguin habitat, restricting all penguin access to the build site, and ensuring penguins have safe and unlimited movement across the site once it is re-developed and habitat plantings enhancements are complete," he said.
An assessment estimated 10 Little Penguin breeding pairs may use the area and in order to minimise the impact on the penguin activity, precautions were outlined at each construction phase.
It will be built outside the breeding season, fences will be constructed to allow them to leave but not re-enter, any dead, injured or penguin sightings will be reported and about 40 nesting boxes will be built for any displaced penguins.
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