FORMER Shoalhaven mayor Greg Watson, who was instrumental in persuading the Shaolin monks to develop a temple in the Shoalhaven said the state government should be encouraging such development not making unreasonable demands.
He said claims revealed this week that government agencies are trying to make the developers pay for a flyover on the Princes Highway and undertake a tree count on the 3000-acre property are unrealistic.
“This really needs to be a wake-up call to Barry O’Farrell and the rest of the NSW government to haul agencies into line, otherwise NSW will soon stop being an attractive investment location,” Cr Watson said.
“Somewhere along the line there has got to be a bit of common sense applied on these things. There needs to be the worth of a tourist complex to NSW as a whole instead of having individual, single focused government agencies making the projects unviable.”
He said he has spoken to the Shaolin group and they still want to go ahead with the project.
“However, if there is much more of this going on, I personally think we will lose the project,” he said.
“This is too big a project to lose. If we lose it, it would be an absolute tragedy caused by naval gazing by government agencies.”
He said a tourism economic study undertaken when the project was first mooted back in 2004 estimated once completed the development had the potential to bring 180,000 new international visitors to the Shoalhaven and NSW.
In addition it was estimated domestic tourism from NSW and interstate would produce $450,000 per year as well as 2000 permanent jobs once completed.