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Hostel headed for Bargara

WORKERS ACCOMMODATION: Liisa Kaunissaar will manage the new backpackers hostel which Adam Robertson of Robertson Flower Farm Bundaberg will open on a block of land behind Bargara Berries. Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail
WORKERS ACCOMMODATION: Liisa Kaunissaar will manage the new backpackers hostel which Adam Robertson of Robertson Flower Farm Bundaberg will open on a block of land behind Bargara Berries. Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail Mike Knott

A BACKPACKER hostel will soon be nestled amongst berries and blooms as Bargara sees approval for its second backpacker hostel.

Bargara's first hostel was DingoBlue Backpackers Hostel, located on the Esplanade.

Adam Robertson, the co-owner of Robertson Flower Farm on Bargara Rd, has bought five acres of land from Bargara Berries owner Bob Hay to create a second.

Mr Robertson said he will use the land to grow more flowers and convert the residence on the property, located behind Bargara Berries and Mira's Cafe into a 12 bed hostel.

"Just to supply living for our employees that work on our flower farms," Mr Robertson said.

He said his farm employed 12 to 15 people at any one time throughout the season.

"We have a couple of farms in the area and we always have people that are wanting to stay somewhere.

"A lot of the time they don't have anywhere to stay."

He said the accommodation may be opened to other backpackers and farm workers when available.

Mr Hay said he was unaware of Mr Robertson's plans when selling him the land. "I didn't find out until afterwards," he said.

The house that is due to be converted into the hostel was previously the Hay family home.

But with Mr Hay preparing to take a step back from Bargara Berries as he enters retirement, he said he wasn't bothered by the use of the land alongside his own business.

Mr Robertson said the conversion of the house had always been on his agenda when buying the land.

"We were hoping to when we purchased it," he said.

"It's taken six months to get approval and it will probably take another six months to get running."

He said the move came as the flower farm was looking for workers to stay on at the farm for longer periods of time.

"We find with the people we get from the hostels they just want to do the 90 days for the second year visa," Mr Robertson said.

"We want people to stay longer than that, if we can provide them with accommodation and work they're much more likely to stay for our season which is what we're looking for."

He said the season ran for eight months from April until December.

"By the time we train someone we don't want to lose them too quickly," he said.

Bargara councillor Greg Barnes yesterday said he was unaware of the application or its approval with the council.

"But it's probably not a bad location," he said.

"As long as it provides adequate accommodation."




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