Proposed eco resort will employ 20 staff

SHOALHAVEN City Council has received a development application for the $13.6 million eco tourist resort and function centre at Bellawongarah, between Berry and Kangaroo Valley.

The proposal, comprising 42 accommodation units and associated facilities, including a restaurant and function centre, is planned for the historic Rockfield Park property on Kangaroo Valley Road by the Hamilton family.

A decision on the development will eventually be made by the Joint Regional Planning Panel.

Rockfield Park was the first settlement on Berry Mountain in the 1860s and was formerly owned by Frank Swane of Sydney Swane’s Nursery fame.

The development will also include its own onsite sewage treatment plant, pool and gym facilities, 116 car spaces and a wildlife centre.

There will be day-spa facilities, as well as a manager’s studio room, a gallery and a bushfire refuge building. 

It is estimated a staff of 20 will work at the resort.

The central building on the site will house the function and dining facilities, with an existing two-storey farmhouse building to be renovated. 

The building will include a ground floor restaurant for up to 90 people, along with the function room which will provide seating and dining facilities for up to 120 but can also be divided for smaller events.

There will also be a bar and large lounge and library areas.

The proposed development includes six different accommodation building types ranging from two, four and six-bedroom villas that can accommodate a maximum of 84 guests at a single time. 

The buildings generally face the south-east to maximise views to the south, and all have private balconies, living rooms and bathrooms but kitchen facilities will not be provided. 

The spa building will include six treatment/massage rooms and two spa baths. 

The proposal includes an indoor and outdoor pool and a gym room facility, as well as a steam room.

A gallery will provide the opportunity to display local art and photography and will also be the bushfire refuge building capable of accommodating up to 200 people.

A wildlife centre is proposed to the north of the site, adjacent to the corridor of natural vegetation, including an information room and office and a display room with viewing windows to the surrounding scenic bushland as well as a viewing platform.

Access between the buildings will be provided with golf buggies.

The Hamiltons are looking to establish a long-term viable commercial venture on the property as a high quality resort facility, while also planning to continue operating a functioning Dorper sheep farm, which will be a key attraction of the property. 

A council spokesperson said local residents hadn’t been formally notified of the development as council was waiting for further information and studies from the applicant.

“Once that information is received residents will be notified widely and there will be consultation meetings,” the spokesperson said.

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