Island cruise a step closer
A CRUISE service from Bundaberg to Lady Musgrave Island has gathered impetus, with businessman John Clayton offering to take on the service put out to tender by Bundaberg and North Burnett Tourism.
Mr Clayton, director of Seventeen Seventy-based Lady Musgrave Cruises, said he had accepted an invitation from the tourism body to submit an expression of interest for the 175-person permit on offer.
Bundaberg and North Burnett Tourism general manager James Corvan said Mr Clayton’s submission had been the only one received in writing so far, but that the group was in talks with other operators.
If successful, this would take the number of people Mr Clayton can transport to the island to more than 700 per day.
This latest development comes after Mr Clayton unveiled hopes for a 350-seat, 90-minute service from Bundaberg to Lady Musgrave.
This is contingent on an all-clear for a 130-tonne pontoon to be moored in the island’s lagoon to accommodate the new operation. The pontoon can carry 350 people at a time, including 226 under cover.
Mr Clayton met with government officials last week for a final site inspection.
He said “everything went to plan”, but he was still awaiting the official green light.
The pontoon was expected to be moved from Gladstone Harbour to its resting place inside the Lady Musgrave Island lagoon in the new year.
This operation should take about two weeks to complete.
Construction of a new $8-million, 35m jet-powered luxury catamaran to service the route was expected to take about 12 months, and was scheduled to start once the pontoon was in place.
“It’s taken four years so far, but it’s getting close,” Mr Clayton said.
He said the new operation would require construction of a new arm at Bundaberg Port Marina.
Marina manager Geoff Beyer said he was happy to accommodate Mr Clayton’s plans, but was still to receive the relevant “facts and figures” to offer a price and assess a time frame for any such work to be completed.
“All we’re doing is waiting for information in relation to his operation,” Mr Beyer said.
“We’d love to have not one, but two or three operations doing day cruises out of the port.
“I think it’s great for Bundy.
“It would be a huge bonus for the town and the marina.”