The West

Rotto hotel back on table

Ill-fated plans for a luxury hotel on Rottnest Island are back on the negotiating table.

After two failed attempts to develop a five-star hotel on Mt Herschel, the Rottnest Island Authority has received a proposal for the 4ha site overlooking Longreach Bay.

The development bid was revealed to _The Weekend West _through the freedom of information process. The identity of the proponent was not disclosed, nor was the scale of the plan.

In confirming that a proposal had been received, the RIA said it was awaiting legal advice, given that it had been lodged outside a formal tender process.

Two previous tenders - in 2006 and 2010 - failed to deliver a hotel despite preferred developers being announced.

The first attempt collapsed after two years of negotiations with a consortium led by Broadwater Hotels and Resorts. The second floundered after a 20-month process when Pinctada Hotels and Resorts withdrew, saying it was financially unviable. Shortly after taking on the role as RIA chairman in 2012, John Driscoll said that despite the previous failings, a hotel on Mt Herschel was "something that is worth considering".

At the release of the island's 20-year strategy this year, he said Mr Herschel was still a preferred site for a luxury hotel.

The strategy also identified other potential accommodation options, including a hotel resort overlooking Geordie Bay.

Mr Driscoll said the strategy showed that the island was "open for business" and the authority was keen to hear ideas from the private sector.

The freedom of information process also revealed that a private operator had proposed the establishment of eco-friendly chalets and electric buggies.

Another proposal was for the construction of artificial osprey nests with webcams fitted. The RIA said it was an interesting concept needing environmental assessment.

Public submissions on the strategy and the 2014-2019 management plan closed on June 6. The 186 submissions are being assessed.

The West Australian

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