Resort for Big Banana
By GRAEME SINGLETON
COFFS Harbour is once again eagerly anticipating a banana-led recovery.
But it isn't the fruit which is set to kick-start the local economy, but rather a multi-million redevelopment of The Big Banana.
The iconic tourist attraction is to undergo a major facelift as well as become home to a a water-based resort encompassing 300 high-quality residential apartments and houses for both residents and tourists.
The owners of the Big Banana, Kevin and Marie Rubie, have signed an agreement with The Village Building Company, (VBC) which is already developing 'The Summit' to create a new future for the landmark attraction.
Stage one, to be completed over the next 12 to 18 months will incorporate a high-tech 3-D presentation of the history of banana growing in Coffs Harbour and showcase the best that the region offers in produce, arts, crafts and leisure.
The Big Banana's plantation and packing shed will remain and become part of the proposed water-based resort.
It will be connected to VBC's 'The Summit' development on the southern side of the hill.
Construction of 'The Summit' is due to begin in the next few months, while VBC is conducting a due diligence study to satisfy itself that there is support from the Coffs Harbour City Council for both the revitalisation of The Big Banana and the associated housing and tourist development.
VBC managing director, Bob Winnel, said his company was pleased to have entered into the agreement with the Rubie family.
"New investment in a significantly upgraded tourist facility will reinforce the growing recognition of Coffs Harbour as a first- class tourist destination, a vital regional centre and placed of unequalled lifestyle for existing and new residences," Mr Winnel said.
Kevin Rubie said the advent of the Village Building Company into the management and future development of The Big Banana was the most significant step forward in its history.