Queensland Government Takes Legal Action Over Derelict Double Island Resort

Derelict Double Island Resort

In a bid to revive a once-glamorous tropical island resort, the Queensland government has taken legal action against the owner of Double Island, a paradise that was once frequented by Hollywood’s elite, including Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston.

Double Island, situated off the coast of Palm Cove, north of Cairns, was purchased by Hong Kong-based billionaire Benny Wu for a cool $5.68 million back in 2012. Back then, it was a 17.8-hectare haven that drew the rich and famous like a magnet. But today, it lies in ruins, a shadow of its former glory.

The Queensland government had given Mr. Wu an ultimatum earlier this year in April: restore the facilities and open the island to the public. Sadly, that deadline has come and gone without any action. Now, the Department of Resources has initiated legal proceedings against Mr. Wu’s Fortune Island Holding Company in the Queensland Land Court.

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Michael Healy, the member for Cairns and assistant tourism minister, expressed the government’s frustration, emphasizing that they expect leaseholders to uphold their end of the deal. “There are expectations that when people sign leases they will comply,” he remarked. “We had indicated to the tenant that we were not happy with the fact that they hadn’t been compliant and that unless they had provided us with the appropriate documentation and evidence, we would proceed with the forfeiture of the lease. We have a wonderful island there. It has enormous potential, and we really want to see that potential realized.”

Documents presented to the Land Court reveal a history of complaints dating back to 2017, highlighting issues with the use and management of the leased land. Photographs obtained by ABC depict a sorry state of affairs, with mold-covered safari-style tents, scattered plastic chairs, and a once-glistening pool now reduced to a murky green sludge at the bottom.

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Palm Cove businessman Tony Richards, who has a long association with the island, welcomes the legal action as a necessary step to end Mr. Wu’s lease. He reminisces about the island’s heyday when it attracted A-list celebrities like Keanu Reeves. “Keanu Reeves liked to work out in the gym, so before his stay on the island, a glass-fronted, beautiful gymnasium was built,” Mr. Richards fondly recalls.

He firmly believes that the island holds immense potential and that there is keen interest from potential developers. With optimism in his voice, he envisions the resort being restored to its former glory. “It’s a beautiful island,” he asserts.

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