THE long-talked about $360 million Shaolin complex development, south of Nowra, has been described as a “gated community” which will attract predominantly Chinese nationals, whose lives will be determined by the Shaolin Foundation.
A report in response to Environmental Assessment Submissions by consultants Conybeare Morrison for the proposed tourist and residential development at Comberton Grange has cast doubts the project will have the major spin-off for the Shoalhaven, as is often touted.
In the report the consultants said the residential component would attract predominantly Chinese nationals wishing to live or retire in a precinct with an Asian culture, or Australian Chinese-Australian retirees seeking a retirement opportunity in a “gated” community that provided specific attractions and care.
“Residents are not likely to have work commitments in Nowra or the surrounding area,” the report said.
“As the development is under one ownership (the Shaolin Foundation), the foundation has the right to determine the overall mix of residential occupancy in the development.”
The report said the “predominant marketing aim of the development” was to cater to specific senior and ethnic groups, with accompanying services and lifestyle provision.
The precise nature of the development was an integrated Buddhist tourist and residential development, with residential a minor component.
The report assumed that 50 per cent of shop owners within the complex would probably be Chinese and would live within the development, raising questions about how the proposal might benefit the local community if the Shaolin Foundation decided who lives in the complex.
The number of retail staff is estimated to be 100 in stage one and 400 in the ultimate development.
The $360 million proposal comprises a Buddhist temple sanctuary complex, kung-fu academy, 500-bed four-star hotel, commercial shopping precinct and community centre and permanent housing residential development for the Falls Creek area.
Over the years there have been promises of thousands of jobs for the area as a result of the project.
In 2012 when the plans went on public exhibition it included suggestions about 1000 people would be employed to build the project’s many facilities and even more jobs were expected to be created once construction was finished, with about 1300 positions catering for a predicted 150,000 visitors a year.
Shoalhaven Mayor Joanna Gash confirmed the proposal would pay rates to Shoalhaven City Council.