The Emerald City
THE last time the slogan 'It's Time' was in the public arena, it was 1972 and charismatic PM-wannabe Gough Whitlam was rallying a nation to break the 23-year-old coalition stranglehold on government.
Almost four decades on, Bowen Basin entrepreneur Peter Bolt reckons it's time the Emerald community took charge of shaping a future where the inevitable influx of FIFO/DIDO miners co-exist with service industry workers and every pay scale in between, without being segregated in camps.
And like any good politician, he's got what he believes is a vote winner - means tested, affordable rental housing for locals at Brisbane rental market prices.
"It's time for a change in Emerald, time to go up instead of out, time for a widely recognised four-star hotel, a precinct with conference facilities, serviced offices, time to address the affordable housing situation, and time for something new," is Mr Bolt's rally cry.
"It's time for a new way of accommodating business people,
contractors, professionals, workers and key personnel."
Mr Bolt, from Investor Direct, is part of the consortium behind the $500m Citigate, billed as a premier lifestyle precinct featuring a four-star signature hotel, one, two and three-bedroom high-rise apartments, and penthouses.
It would also house a retail component, cafes, alfresco dining and restaurants.
"Basically what we want to do is get some community awareness happening now," Mr Bolt said.
"We're talking to three or four major hotel chains at the moment about it, and we want to bring in a mixture of some affordable and some mining apartments in a way that doesn't look like a mining camp.
"We also have strong interest from mining companies who are currently in the process of working through their commitments and requirements.
"We hope to have a little bit of everything, and something for everyone in Emerald."
Mr Bolt has partnered with West Australian modular building supplier Modcon Building Solutions and AYR International for the Citigate venture.
He said the intention was to dedicate a percentage of every new project to provide affordable housing, an issue he was aware was reaching critical mass in Emerald.
"To match Brisbane rents, that's a fair and reasonable thing to put out there," Mr Bolt said.
"If it's justifiable and sustainable to rent it out at those prices, that is what we will do.
"It will be means tested, so if you and your partner don't work in the mines, you can access a one, two or three-bedroom apartment at Brisbane rates.
"We're bringing a whole new way of accommodating miners, and a lot of professionals involved in the mining industry, and trying to take a bit of pressure off the rental market in town."
A Central Highlands council spokesperson said no development application had yet been lodged for the high-density project that proposes buildings from two to 12 storeys.
"We're bringing a whole new way of accommodating miners... and trying to take a bit of pressure off the rental market in town."