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Emotional last days for Pelican Beach

By CRAIG McTEAR

PETER Neville probably knows better than most what the Australis Pelican Beach Resort means to its staff.

The general manager of one of Coffs Harbour's oldest resorts says emotions are running high among many of the employees there ahead of its April 2 closure.

Pelican Beach will eventually be demolished to make way for an $80 million lifestyle resort catering for a mix of both permanent residents and tourists.

"I've only been here for two years as general manager. I guess I'm one of the newer ones to join the team," Mr Neville said.

"So emotionally, the closure of the resort is not as hard for me as for many of the long-term staff here, and I empathise with them.

"I sincerely appreciate their loyalty and support at this time, and I do wish them all the best for the future in their alternative employment."

He said management had been helping the 20 full-time and 40 casual staff find other jobs in the hospitality and tourism industries, and he had made plenty of phone calls in a bid to secure them employment.

"We've worked very hard to ensure we can assist them, which has also included providing personal references," he said.

"Some of our staff have already found other work, which is great news."

"We've had good support from the Coffs Harbour area."

Appropriately, the final night for accommodation ? April 1 ? is currently running at 80 per cent capacity.

Sapphire Beach Development, which bought the resort last year, wants to build 120 to 124 units and provide carparking, landscaping and gardens.

The NSW Department of Planning is currently assessing the proposal, which will then go to Planning Minister Frank Sartor for final approval.



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