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Rottnest Island Resort Fails to Sell Again

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Western Australia
Thursday, 15 December 2011 00:00

PLANS to lease and redevelop the struggling Rottnest Island resort in Perth have fallen over for the second time in three years.

This month, businesswoman Marilynne Paspaley said stalled negotiations over agreements were the reason her company, Pinctada Hotels and Resorts is pulling out of a venture to control the asset.

“Hotel development is a very high-risk business and one has to approach it with great foresight and great rigour in financial analysis and risk mitigation,” she told the AFR. “It is absolutely critical that when one looks at terms of the lease agreement and terms of the development agreement, they are fair and reasonable and make commercial sense.”

Governing body the Rottnest Island Authority (RIA) currently controls the site. It is considered responsible for in 2009 stalling a campaign that started in 2007 to sell the asset to a consortium led by Broadwater Hotels, which said the RIA tried to shift risk to it.

Ms Paspaley, who wanted to develop a $70 million 120-room resort and conference facility on the island, said she had been pushing to expand food and beverage offerings to make the project viable.

Pinctada was prevented from going further, it is reported, until the whole project had been signed off.

“If I can only do that afterwards when I am the confirmed proponent, to me it seems a false way around the issue,” she said.

Kim Hames, the state’s Tourism Minister, told the AFR the government hopes to revisit the issue to see if there are “changes that need to be made”.

Visitor numbers at Rottnest Island were down 15 per cent in winter, and ballots submitted for summer accommodation were down as well.