AN iconic eco resort once helmed by Gold Coast Mayor Ron Clarke has shut its doors after running at a financial loss for the past decade.
Couran Cove Island Resort has been placed in the hands of receivers and a buyer is being sought. Ferrier Hodgson has been appointed as the liquidator for the South Stradbroke Island property.
The resort was developed in 1998 by the InterPacific Group, an investor and developer and operator of tourist resorts in the Pacific Basin. The resort had been funded and concepted by US billionaire and philanthropist Chuck Feeney, who is reported to have lost $283 million in the venture.
InterPacific's other resorts include Pacific Islands Club Guam, Pacific Islands Club Saipan, Laguna Beach Resort in Phuket, Thailand and Bali Golf and Country Club, Nusa Dua Bali.
Cr Ron Clarke says the resort was mismanaged in recent times and that the decision to remove the self-contained accommodation aspects may have led to its demise.
“It became a fairly expensive project in the end, but it was a beautiful site,” says Clarke.
“We designed it as an Australian holiday resort with self-contained apartments and the owners later removed all the cooking utensils and cutlery and made it so that guests had to eat in the restaurants. It was a ridiculous move to force people who were on an island escape from the corporate world to have to dress up and go out to eat. It was an enviro surf retreat.”
Cr Clarke says he has had no contact with Feeney regarding the receivership. The pair also worked together on the Runaway Bay Sports Centre. Clarke’s son still owns unit No.1 within the resort.
Couran Cove Island Resort has won environmental, architectural, tourism and catering awards and offered a range of relaxed marine style accommodation in an island setting which was popular the world over.
A tourism slump and low vacancy rates is being blamed for its closure.
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