"LAGUNA Whitsundays - join us in creating the dream."
The marketing promised a place to enjoy the "Whitsunday Ranges" while the Coral Sea lapped your toes.
It should have been a holiday haven or a dream new lifestyle.
But now, after languishing for decades, Laguna Whitsunday is probably better described as a nightmare for people who still own land at the idyllic could-have-been paradise.
In 1997, Australian Super Developments bought the resort from a Japanese shipping company.
Under ASD, businessman David Marriner had big plans to turn the slice of paradise, carved out of coastal bushland about 100km north of Mackay, into much more than a holiday destination.
In April 1992, the Daily Mercury reported the "spectacular new international resort", originally called Laguna Quays, was beginning to take shape, with workers developing the 18-hole Turtle Point Golf Course.
Construction of the three-level Golf Lodge Hotel had reached the second storey and more than 70 other properties were expected to be finished by that Christmas.
In June 1992, units went on sale at the resort. They were expecting to receive anywhere from $172,500 to $415,000 for the units - the cost of a house in Mackay in 2019.
But the dream became much more than a golf course and resort; it developed into a town. Or it was meant to.
On the front line
FOR former real estate agent Christine Capewell, who became involved with the project in 2002, Laguna Whitsundays has been a huge professional and personal let-down.
Not only did she sell sold properties to people, she and her husband Ian, also bought into the resort, expecting to live the dream that the Laguna Whitsundays development promised.
"I was working in investment property in Melbourne," she said. "The Melbourne sales agents (for Laguna Whitsundays) were Carroll McKeddie, a South Yarra agency which had been appointed by David Marriner to market the project.
"Together with other members of the sales team, I worked out of a showroom in Collins St in Melbourne, and the property was sold off the plan.
"It was a master plan development, with its own international airport … and a new village. It was to sustain a population of about 12,000."
Seventeen years after Mrs Capewell began working on the Laguna project the couple, like many others, cannot sell their piece of land - for which they paid more than $200,000 - for $50,000.
"That is how it is with all these people who have bought in," she said. "We've now heard nothing from Fullshare?
"Fullshare came in saying they were going to do this, the vision was going to be enacted … but everything has just been closed down and let run to ruin."
With so many landowners desperate for answers, Mrs Capewell said she had hoped Fullshare would give them answers. To date, that had not happened yet.
She is frustrated, embarrassed and angry. Embarrassed because she sold people into the project in good faith and angry that they are all still waiting for answers.
Mrs Capewell said there has been lots of talk about refurbishing the island resorts, but she could not understand why there had been no government intervention in Laguna Whitsundays.
Living at Laguna
"It was like paradise," Mrs Capewell said. "The greenery in the gardens when we first lived there was still maintained. The golf course was in prime condition, the marina was still operational. But you could see the need for upgrading.
"Down at the bar, on the water, they didn't run enough staff to keep that going.
"You'd have boaties who'd come in and have a meal, but half the time it was closed, or they were inundated and didn't have enough staff.
"It became depressing. You had an expectation that construction was about to start and it never happened, week after week, after week."
WHEN Mrs Capewell and other members of the sales team began selling the dream that was Laguna Whitsundays, the proposed international airport was a huge drawcard.
It was going to bring in guests from all over the world to enjoy the first-class lifestyle and golf course.
But the airport never eventuated.
This international airport - it was part of the sales pitch we took around the country to investment seminars and big property shows - said that it would be able to take an A380 landing," Mrs Capewell said.
"Not long after we arrived on 2004, works on the airport commenced.
"The designs were all done for the terminal, and I went to Avalon Air Show ... because part of the overview was supposed to have an aviation park... people with planes, hobby pilots would be able to fly in, purchase land and build a house with direct access to the runway. That was part of the vision."
In a response from Mr Marriner's lawyer, the sale of Proserpine Airport to Laguna Australia Airport fell through when Whitsunday Shire Council could not get consent for the sale from the government.
"As a result of WSC walking away from its agreement to sell the Proserpine Airport ... in about 2013 ASD sold its interest to the Fullshare Group, a major Chinese construction and investment group, which had already invested in the airport at Laguna," the response said.
The response said Mr Marriner's position was that the primary reason the resort closed was due to the airport being abandoned.
"If an international airport had been developed, our clients' position is that the resort would have been successful," it said.
FULLSHARE'S vision is to develop the 2800 sq km of Laguna Whitsundays into a 'worldwide tourist resort landmark' for the 21st century.
It will skew towards the ever-increasing Asian tourist market while providing "comprehensive community facilities to the neighbouring mining towns".
"The target of the project is to develop Laguna Whitsundays as one of the top world-class destination resorts and high-end quality residential housing projects with the capacity to serve 15,000 people," Fullshare's website said.
"It will include an international airport, five world-class hotels, a casino and entertainment centre, two 18-hole and one 27-hole golf courses, and 860 berth marina, a tourism related organic farm, a shopping and retail area, a conference centre, a cruise terminal, a retirement and vacation village and other real estate residential developments."
Fullshare did not responded to the Daily Mercury's request for comment.